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Re: [teacherartexchange] Long email with tons of questions

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From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Sep 25 2005 - 15:29:58 PDT


>I know that I am making so many mistakes, and I
> realize it as soon as I do it. Then I just get angry at myself and wonder why
> I > made such a poor decision.

You're making GREAT decisions by asking questions. We all have bad days,
some better than others, get angry, yell, etc. It's called "teaching all
day" (grin). You are learning just like the kids are learning. It does get
better...way better. And...BTW...when you've taught 25-30 years, you'll
STILL be trying out new discipline ideas.

> Disciplining is hard for me because I've
> always > been the type of person who never wants to make people upset.

Personally I think most of us are that way because we're
"nurturers"...teachers.

> I like the idea of asking the student to stand in a
> corner while I finish talking to the class and then deal with the student
> privately.

I wouldn't suggest putting a student in a corner but maybe to remove them to
just outside the classroom door if needed until you can talk to them. Some
schools don't allow that but I have a huge window where I can see them.

>I don't think I am allowed to kick a student out of my classroom
> unless there is a fight.

I'd talk to other teachers in your building and see what they do. Some
schools have rules or procedures to follow but seldom do. The administration
might tell you "no" but the other teachers might say "I do". Administration
doesn't usually want to handle any problems if they can avoid them. I can
send my problem to the office followed by a detention if the problem is
B-A-D...like breaking brushes.

> I think I'm just scared, maybe afraid that he will
> turn on me, which is such a pathetic excuse. I know that I'm the teacher and
> the person who needs to demand respect and have control of the situation. I
> know that if I worry about my students getting angry with me and retaliating,
> I've given them control.

No it not pathetic. I remember feeling the same way when I returned to
teaching after a baby break. Getting your car "keyed" was our problem at the
time. I never did...don't know why I didn't...but insurance will cover that.
 
> About the supply and cleanup issue, I simply don't have room to put the
> supplies out in different sections of the room.

I don't either but I will place the block of pencils at one table and say
"the pencils are here", paper at another, etc.

> I'm am worried that the students won't be able to decide who will get what.
> There always seems to be one person doing everything while the others just sit
> there. How do I make sure that all students are helping?

When I find that is the case, before they are allowed to get up, I'll
say..."raise your hand if you are getting the brushes". "Raise your hand if
you are getting the paper". When you see every table has a different hand
raised for every item, then I let them go for it. If the items are missing
at a table and someone hasn't done their job in a reasonable time, then
everyone at the table is without for the class. Hard to paint without a
paintbrush.

> I've tried the music thing, but it didn't seem to work. Even when I
> allowed them to pick the radio station, they were still loud!

Some classes are like that. They get no music.

> So, if they get too
> loud, I should simply ask them to clean up? Then should they sit there
> reading > or with their heads down or what?

If it's over your tolerance level, you decide. It would be a drastic action
for me to call early clean-up but I would let them do homework or read or if
they had nothing to do, sketch or sleep.
 
> As for your prize bowl. Do you let them pick something out?

Yep. And it's silly stuff too. I forgot to mention that I give out a wish
list at the beginning of school and I often get little artsy projects that
parents have abandoned and given to me. They have little embroidery kits,
little fuzzy rabbits, skateboard key rings (any kind of key ring is the
bomb), slinkies, tiny paint kits, plastic jewelry, miniature card sets, etc.
I think I've personally invested maybe $10 in the past 4 years for bowl
items. I got a LOT of stuff at NAEA conventions...highlighters, gel pens,
boxes of crayons, etc. If I had to pick one favorite item...it would be key
rings for middle schoolers. Here in CA it's popular to a hundred key rings
hangin' off your backpack.
 
> One good thing is that I have a new batch of middle school students in three
> weeks. I'm hoping that I can take what I've learned and not make the same
> mistakes. I really want the next 9 weeks to go smoother, that's why I'm
> trying > to figure out a system now. In a way, I feel sorry for these kids
>because > they > were like my guinea pigs!

Hee, hee...I always feel that way when I try a new project. Thank heavens
for my little guinea pigs. Toodles.....Bunki

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