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<<I've never seen behavior
so poor in all my days of teaching at this school. This is by far the worst.
I truly feel like queen of the baby sitters.>>
First a hug: (((((((((((((((((((Jill)))))))))))))))))))))
Now the truth. You know I work with humdinger students and I have had many
days like this. However, DO NOT let them win. YES, take the kids who want to
do art and act appropriately. You might have to be the QUEEN ringmaster to do
it, but it can be done. I am living proof. Develop a FUN lesson for the
cooperative and another very BORING project for those who are knuckleheads.
(I usually pick something like clay or anything easy and hands on for the
good group and textbook or writing assignment for the bad.) Divide the room
into those two groups. Now these two projects can't be too teacher intensive
because until your "new teaching outlook" takes root, you will need to pour
your attention into both groups. This takes a bit of practice and a lot of
energy. Praise and joke with the cooperative kids and tell the other group
they can earn their way into the "fun" project group when they show that they
can display appropriate behavior. If the kids in boring work group don't want
to do the work, tell them "Oh well, that is YOUR choice!"(In other words, at
this point don't worry if they complete the project. That is not your main
priority at the moment. However, those who do attempt to do the boring work
can move to the good group after showing they want to cooperate.) Then go
praise and admire the fun group artwork. The point of all this is TAKE
YOURSELF OUT OF IT. The kids are testing you, but you need to turn it around.
Don't react in a way that they can tell this is bothering you. Let the kids
WANT to behave better because they feel like they are missing something by
not being in the fun, good group. They will not become angels, but they WILL
come around, eventually. But you have to be firm, set down the law, and DON'T
ARGUE with them. Tell them it is their choice to either use the time to have
fun or be bored. Show by your actions that you are so happy and proud of the
artworks of the good group. The bad kids usually become jealous of all the
attention the good kids are getting. This has worked for me even with high
school kids. (In the last seven years, I have never given the second bookwork
assignment. They all have had a change of heart by the second or third
class.) It takes a while, but eventually they come around when they see their
behavior is not bothering you because you are having so much fun with the
well behaved kids.