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Re: am i a terrible teacher? Absolutely NOT!


From: nancy kizis (smokealarm7_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Oct 24 2001 - 21:02:46 PDT

Re: am i a terrible teacher? Absolutely NOT!bunki,
thanks for your ideas, problem is, this is my eighth year and i have the rep as the hardest nosed teacher in the art dept. i do change the seating chart,provide rubrics, self evals., phone calls home,emails to parents, one on one talks, constantly researching and updating my teaching methods. i feel like a policeman rather than a teacher.
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Bunki Kramer
  To: ArtsEdNet Talk
  Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2001 9:47 PM
  Subject: Re: am i a terrible teacher? Absolutely NOT!

  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. Toodles.....Bunki ---