Stacie: My experience is that kids respond to clear directions and expectations,
and that's true even of troubled kids. Praise the behaviors you want repeated,
correct those you don't. I have to believe with the middle school age group that
they want to please and will try if only they have a road map to knowing how.
I have a sixth grade wheel section right now who has been very noisy and when
they first came to me I thought they were probably beyond help. But I learned
that they'd had a green teacher for Language Transfer in the rotation before me
and I had to work on the noise/inattentiveness thing. Twice I ordered them
outside to come into class again, and told them that this is coming out of their
art-making time. Funny thing is they're now a lot more fun to work with than
my other wheel period, which at the beginning I thought would be the better
In my second year teaching I had to be observed during a class where the kids
never stopped talking, and ignored me during instruction. "How does that make
you feel?" my I.S. asked.
Now I break them to the bit right from the beginning of the semester, and I keep
working on it, reward and punishmednt as needed throughout the semester
Silly me that it took three years, but I have finally learned that this is ART, not
math, and the school's test scores are not going to hang on whether I've covered
the material; as far as my district is concerned, we electives folk are teaching so
much more than test-taking.
Hang tough and hang in there.
But P.S.I have dubbed this semester's eighth grade class the "Sweathogs". It
helps me to love them even when I'm gnashing my teeth.
---- Original message ----
>Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2006 16:03:30 EST
>Subject: Re: [teacherartexchange] Tomorrow is my final group!
>To: "TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group"
>I don't mind them chatting while they work, but many simply don't do the
>work. Instead, they wander around the room, hit one another, sometimes
>and knock things down or fall down. They are constantly playing, and SO
>that I can't even hear a student who is trying to ask me a question right in
>front of me. When I try to explain the next project or teach them about an
>artist, they simply talk through the entire thing. They are incredibly
>disrespectful...so much so that I feel enraged at times. I want so badly to have
>where the kids are excited and working and sharing ideas, but I think I had
>only one day when that happened. It was the last project while they were
>painting their frames, and two of my most troubled students were absent. It
>to change the whole dynamic of the room.
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