Challenging Moment #MTBoS12days

Ok this is a tough one. I’ve been challenged plenty in my 2.5 years teaching. I think a moment that sticks out to me is in my first year teaching. I had big big big problems with classroom management and had one class in particular that was pretty bad. It really just consisted of two boys that pretty much ran the class. They’d shout out or at each other, make fun of other kids, end up rolling on the floor, throw things. The school disciplinary procedure (referrals, detentions, suspensions) did nothing and I had had some parent complaints. My first out of three observations happened in that class in December. During that lesson, with the assistant principal in the room, the behavior was still crazy. My AP pretty much told me that I had to get it under control or I’d be in trouble (or at least that’s what I saw it as – she said later that I was always in good shape to be hired the next year). It was after that meeting, right before winter break, that I went to my first blog looking for classroom management techniques. I had also asked for help from my mentor and other teachers and was assured by my team that I could send the two boys to other classrooms every day if I needed to, but I always resisted that and I had tried a few things my mentor suggested but it wasn’t working. So my first real venture into the #MTBoS was because of this moment. I can’t for the life of me find what I read first, but it spiraled into me getting Feedly and subscribing to a bunch of math blogs.

After winter break, I told my class we were “starting over” and told them to do a bunch of crazy things for one minute like stand on the tables, scream, run, etc. After the minute was up they got into their seats quietly and we agreed that we should never see any of these behaviors again, otherwise we would have these specific consequences (that they came up with/agreed on). I also started a “Secret Student” class competition, where I would choose a student to secretly observe for behavior throughout the class. If that student had acceptable behavior the entire time (sometimes I’d announce at the beginning that I was specifically looking at good group work today or something like that), I would say at the end of class “Our secret student Johnny did this and this and this to get you a secret student point today!” However, if the student did not have acceptable behavior, I’d say “Our secret student was not able to behave acceptably today. We will have to try again tomorrow.” I allowed students to see me outside of class, alone, if they wanted to know if they were the one that caused the class to not get their point. When we reached a certain number of points, we’d get a party.

The behavior was pretty good after that. I’m not gonna say that everything instantly turned around, but I was able to usually go a few days without having something thrown or shouted and that was good. It also helped me know how to start off my next year better.

La mauvaise conduite des étudiants ne me conviennent jamais, mais maintenant j’ai quelques stratégies.

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