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Re: am i a terrible teacher? Absolutely NOT!


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Oct 20 2001 - 19:47:53 PDT

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526
art webpage -
       Sounds to me like there are 2 things going on here: !) students not
taking responsibility for their work and 2) you did not mention that you
took any measures to eliminate the chatter. I have found that the single
most effective way to eliminate that garbage is to rearrange the seating
chart- then and there. And as often as I have to each time I see them until
I get a combination that works.....
       I would suggest you take a more direct, authoritarian approach with
them if they refuse to be accountable. They should have to fill out rubric
sheets/self assessment sheets on their projects. That restates your goals
and expectations of them. I never sign out supplies unless a kid has been
legitimately absent. Otherwise, they think they don't have to work in the
class time provided. I don't like to have to teach this way, but there are
times when you have no option......
So yes, I think you may have had too long of a deadline for them-
     Hope I didn't make you feel insulted.Just some points to ponder. Every
new teacher has things like this happen- it's what helps you hone your craft
if you are thoughtful and reflective on what did and didn't work in the
events. Christine in Binghamton (8th yr.) ---
First of all, I think Christine offered some wonderfully sage
advice...especially about the seating arrangement. After setting up one at
the beginning of the quarter/semester/whatever, I'm constantly changing it
during the year to reflect the best of that class's personality...and they
are ALL different...even those that might have some of the same students. A
seating chart sends up all sorts of flags that this teacher has control and
means business.

The next thing I'd like to offer is really the most important thing...and
that is you are a wonderful, caring teacher who obviously cares about her
students. The most glaring problem is that your students don't seem to
reciprocate the same feelings towards you. That's not that you are to become
their best buddy because, frankly, they don't want that. It's much easier to
whine, complain, wave off their responsibility and make you question your
methods and reachable goals. If you let them put those thoughts into you
head, then the ballgame is over. You are the adult, you've been selected by
your district and charged with making a curriculum, and you are the boss
now. The same thing has happened to me and to all the rest of us out here
who have taught secondary and/or middle school. It's kinda like a "writ of
passage" to meet the student barriers head on and survive. are the only one who can change things for the better now.
Keep your expectations and goals high, keep your confidence higher, keep
your principal informed of what's happening and to expect a mass of F's if
need be, and look forward to a new quarter and a new beginning. If you are a
new teacher, remember it will take 2-3-4 years to build up your reputation
with older kids and that reputation will lay your future problems of this
sort to rest. We've all been there and it will get better.