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Re: discouraged— Unruly art class (D ennis)

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From: Jennifer Buerkle (buerklej_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Nov 05 2000 - 05:33:52 PST


*NOTE: THIS POST IS IN ANSWER TO A POST I READ ABOUT A WEEK AGO. MY
COMPUTER DECIDED IT DIDN'T LIKE TO SEND TO THE GETTY LIST AND I HAD TO
FIGURE THINGS OUT...

I'll add some of my thoughts in the body of the post, clipping some here
and
there.

>
> I tried calm, classical music but the din is either so loud it can't even be
> heard, or they keep trying to change it to a radio rap station.

Keep in mind I currently teach middle school, but have taught high
school. A
student who messed with my CD player would have stepped way over my
personal
boundary for what is mine and what is his/hers. This might be easier
for me to
establish because I am nearing 50 and have achieved a level of comfort
with those
boundaries. So, I'd have some sort of consequences for touching it.
The art
nazi, for sure! But when a student feels she has the right to come into
a room
and manipulate it to meet her own needs, there is a message there that
you are
not in charge. She is.

> Rather than
> listen to the music they got louder and their behavior worsened. So I'm
> wondering, maybe not much works for teachers new to a school that has these
> types of needy, attention getting, rude students. Maybe all the advice we
> implement will only work IN TIME. Do you think this is the case?

I kind of think that what improves in time is your understanding of what
things
really hinder your progress, control, etc. Some things just don't work,
and you
will learn what they are and add them to your mental list. For example,
I have
recently learned that it does NOT work to have three kids out on the
patio using
the potter's wheel alone. It really DOES NOT WORK and I won't do it
again!

>
>
> In the meantime, its so frustrating. Anyone who has another idea that hasn't
> been mentioned, all of us people in the "discouraged boat" need to keep
> hearing your solutions. THe one I just can't master with these rude classes
> is the low voice or the wait for silence approach.

The wait for silence approach usually only works with classes that are
basically
easy-going anyway. I don't use it anymore.

> I'll try to watch harder for gum chewing and eating, which they manage to do
> quite successfully, even though I think I'm on the ball.

Oddly enough, I allow the kids to eat and chew gum as long as they do it
politely
and I don't find wrappers. I've been known to bring in cookies for
them,
myself. I take the privilege away when I do and they usually get much
better at
policing themselves. Then, of course, there is the greasy fingers issue
and I
just explain that there are some projects that don't mix with food very
well.

>
>
> The one thing I do that does work a little is being nice to the worst behaved
> kids, after they've been insubordinate or been written up.

This is a good approach. The more you know them, in my experience, the
more
embarrassed they are to really misbehave. Although they will test you.
The
trick is to let them know that you care about them, and while you hold
them
accountable for their behavior, you are ready to work with them when
they are
ready.