the ferrous wheel

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 09 2008

My first classroom fight

So, I’ve been having trouble with my 3rd period class.  This class is made up mostly new kids to the school – so my understanding is that they aren’t quite familiar with how things work here yet.  My school is completely dedicated to helping the kids who can’t make it anywhere else make it here, and it seems that some of my new students just don’t know that their behavior won’t be tolerated here because we are hoping to keep them, rather than throw them out to the next school who will take them.

So today, two of my students who shall remain nameless became a huge problem. They’ve been a huge problem before, but I didn’t crack down on their behavior soon enough – and so now they think they can act like that everyday. Huge mistake number one. Today, both of them had a showdown with me in the hallway. I was trying to speak to them about being respectful of their classmates’ learning styles and not shouting out in the middle of class, and they just kept shouting at me. At this point I had about four administrators in my hallway, who stepped in help me calm my students down (did I say that my school staff is supportive? Because they are the most supportive people I could hope for in this situation). Things seemed to be going alright…until one of these students decided to have an outburst in the middle of class – he was provoked by another student – and throw his binder across the room.
Man, do my students have trouble reining in their emotions. I’d like to know what’s gone on at their previous schools and what’s going on in their life right now so that I can begin to connect with them rather than just talk to them sternly in the hallway.

Anyhow, my 3rd period class makes me feel miserable. The rest of the day is perfectly fine–good, even–but this class drags me down. I have huge leaps and bounds to make in terms of classroom management, getting to know what works for my problem students and what sets them off, and learning not to lose my cool so I can keep teaching the rest of the class when an outburst happens. Right now I feel terrible for the rest of my students in that class, because they haven’t learned anything. They’re hangin’ by a thread and they need me to settle the class down.

In the end, I kept the two students for lunch detention. They were surprisingly calm as they sat in my room silently, completing behavior reflections. I am only hoping that that got them to think about their actions a bit. Tomorrow should be a fresh start. I really hope so.

But I am so doubtful.

2 Responses

  1. 2008msc

    I have a kid with a similar problem in my 4th grade class (outbursts, shouting, threatening other kids). I’m still working on it too. Hang in there, you’re not alone :)

  2. garyrubinstein

    Forget about the ‘behavior reflections’ just have them sit there and be bored.

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teaching kids to love science

D.C. Region
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