> One of my goals would be to set-up my own rules for the classroom. The
> students are not what I would even consider "bad", yet some of their
> behaviors make me so nervous (For example: throwing pencils & crayons, mild
> rough-housing, foul-language, etc.)
That's not bad?! Bad in my book. Throwing stuff in my class results in an
automatic 20 minute after-school detention. Too much potential for trouble
with kids throwing stuff - I wouldn't even touch clay if kids threw stuff on a
regular basis. Foul language? I usually deal with that with a verbal warning
- and kids respect it. If it is especially foul (mother f***, a-hole, etc,
etc.) it could result in a detention. Directed at me? Sent down to the house
office, and a call home. Rough-housing I haven't had this year, but I had
plenty last year. I'd come down strong on it. Face it, if a kid gets hurt in
your room, who is liable? Should a kid even have to worry about getting hurt
in your room? I think they should feel safe.
I occasionally ask for no talking, depending on what we are doing. If their
talk is art-related during these times, I'll ok it, but it needs to be a
whisper (I teach high school). In general, the talk level has to be pretty
low. I tell them their art work suffers from too much talking, and it does.
As for direct advice on what you should do, that's a tough one, since you are
sort of adopting the class from someone else. I'd say, if you want to
institute some new behavior plans, tell the kids up front that for the next x
number of weeks, we are going to operate under some different rules designed
to help them focus more on their work. Be firm, and stick to your guns. Kids
need to know where their boundaries are. This is only my second year of full-
time teaching, and I was much meaner at the beginning of the year than I was
last year. Once that is established, you can always go back to it.
I wish you luck with your student teaching!
Norwalk High School