I too have difficult students in my art foundations class this semester
in high school (grade 10). So my heart goes out to you Stacie as I now
feel I am experiencing some of the frustration you mention. It appears
to me that many students are missing the basic paradigm of the
structure they find themselves in, i.e. that they are in a classroom
setting, that we are the teachers and they are the students. Simple and
basic, but altogether lacking in the framework of many students.
Believe it or not, I often have to stop the disorder in the class by
reminding them of this paradigm. Many students see us as parent figures
and feel they can dish out the same disrespect they often give a
parent. But we are not their parents, or their friends--we are their
teachers. Our role is very different, and a fair amount of distance is
necessary, I believe, in gaining respect. I have a colleague that is
buddies, similiar to an older brother, to many of the kids. He is
called by his last name, lets the kids rough house with him and
eachother, and they love him. Their work? Unimportant.
Standing up for your program and your role in that program can be
difficult and wearying. My other classes are mostly great, so I hang in
there. I am also trying out teaching university students this year--the
students are much better behaved, but the work load is tremendous.
Balance is key; walking the fence gets easier after awhile, but there
are always surprises.
On Mar 5, 2006, at 10:12 PM, <email@example.com> wrote:
> Stacie: My experience is that kids respond to clear directions and
> and that's true even of troubled kids. Praise the behaviors you want
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
>> From: StacieMich@aol.com
>> 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
>> work. Instead, they wander around the room, hit one another,
> even run
>> and knock things down or fall down. They are constantly playing, and
>> 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
>> disrespectful...so much so that I feel enraged at times. I want so
>> badly to have
> a room
>> 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
>> 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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