><snip> But as soon as I allowed them to get to work, it just
>got too crazy. The whole class, new students were entering, and I was trying
>to find them seats and log them into my gradebook and check schedules.
>Students needed help, and I had to keep pushing those who wouldn't work. My head was
>spinning. It was so crazy, that I couldn't even think about how to single
>out people or punish them.
The beginning of the school year is always, in my experience, chaotic.
Is there such a thing as a school that's completely organized the first
couple of weeks? Don't try to do anything complex with them until the
dust settles. Make sure your procedures--and consequences--are in place
withou a lot of waffling. Have the students PRACTICE THE PROCEDURES
each day when they walk in. Meet them at the door and remind them how
they are to enter the room, where to put their backpacks, get seated, etc.
>I feel badly because I really don't think it's totally their fault. I simply
>have WAY too many students in those classes. They are on top of each other,
>I have like five boys at a table because there are too many boys. They have
>so little room that some girls chose to work on the FLOOR because they couldn't
>lay their papers out on the table. I have eight or nine kids squeezed around
>a table...and the room is just too small. Bookbags are supposed to be tucked
>under tables, but they are too big, and the kids don't have room for their
>legs...so I have bookbags all over the place <snip>
Get an administrator in there TOMORROW to observe this mess. Ask
him/her to observe from the back of the room and give you some
feedback. I did this my very second day when I started at the MS, and
the principal was very helpful and supportive, and gave me some
excellent feedback. If your admin is useless, find a veteran teacher
who is in control and ask him/her to observe your class.