I've been reading your posts and sympathizing with you. My first year was
like this too. You're getting a lot of good advice. I made it through with
lots of prayer and a supportive husband. I decided that I just was not
going to allow a bunch of 8 year olds to tell me what to do and to ruin my
day. Actually, I treat them much like I would treat my own children (can't
have any...but I had a great mom). I expect great things from them - and
won't put up with a bunch of baloney. I try to look at it from this
perspective. I may be the only positive thing these kids see all day. I
may be the only person who compliments them or pats them on the back or
gives them a hug on the way out the door. I want my class to be the best it
can be - as much for me as for them. I tell them on the first day of class
that this is my "home" - I spend more waking hours at school than I do at
home...and when they are in my house, I expect them to behave and treat it
As far as rewards, I've done them and can't afford it on my salary!
Actually, now I use a system I got from Fred Jones "Tools for Teaching" - a
book you should invest in - or at least check out at your library. It's
worth an inter-library loan if you can't get one any other way. I reward
them with time they cash in for special incentives - like watching an
instructional art DVD - Mike Artell's Basic Cartooning - which I highly
recommend. I'm also putting together some art themed bingo games, etc. I
tried giving kids pencils, candy (which is illegal in Arkansas now) and
other things. It got to the point that they wouldn't work unless they were
getting something back. I've actually had them ask me "Mrs. Gillum, if I do
all of my work will you give me a pencil?" and they belligerently decided
not to work when my answer didn't please them. In my opinion, kids are
spoiled enough already. I wanted to build on that intrinsic motivation that
is so difficult to do. So, they are getting rewarded with something I would
have done anyway - but they don't know that.
I run my class on a timer - and give amounts of time towards their goal
every class. When the goal is met, we'll "cancel art class" and have a DVD
day...they don't realize it's art too! I learned this from Fred Jones too.
I'm an extremely time conscious and organized person. This keeps me sane
and helps my class run very smoothly. It also gives them a time constraint
to work within. We are trying to get the kids accustomed to working on
command, as they will be required to do for the standardized tests. By
using timers all year long, a timed test is no big deal to them.
I wish you much luck - and trust all of us who have been there - it will get
better! One last bit of wisdom - if you can't control yourself, you can't
control your class. It took me a while to learn this lesson, but boy, did I
finally get it mastered! Life is too short to run around with stress
induced headaches, stomachaches and high-blood pressure. Life has been much
easier since. Don't take things so personally - in fact, the fact they are
willing to express themselves to you can indicate a level of trust. The
kids who act out so badly are the ones who need help the most...someone to
listen and understand. Build a relationship with them and you'll be
surprised how they will perform for you once you do. It ends up that my
favorite kids are what I call my "thuggy little boys" - those who are too
bad/cool to do anything other than give me grief!
Good luck - and I hope your week goes well!
----- Original Message -----
To: "TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group"
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2005 6:53 PM
Subject: Re: [teacherartexchange] [teacherartexchange tons of questions
> Please don't apologize for the length...I should! THe more advice I get,
> I don't have any more tables and have begged for some. I ended up
> in an old bent up card table to put in the corner so that I could have a
> to sit a student alone. Even if I do get an extra table or two, the room
> very small. My students are really on top of each other. Before this
> arrangement, I had 8 to a table (two rectangular tables pushed together to
> make a big table!) Now there are four to a small table. They are very
> It just seems impossible to get 33 kids to clean up in under 20 minutes.
> I've tried 15 minutes and it was a disaster. I walked around with a trash
> and asked them to dump the paper plates and napkins. Then by table, they
> supposed to rinse their four brushes and rinse out the two cups of water.
> That's it! They couldn't do it! That's why I thought it would be easier
> 16 of them were painting at a time.
> No phone in the room and we are forbidden to use our cell phones. We
> give a detention unless a student has been completely disrespectful, has
> destroyed school property, is late to class or is chewing gum. For
> else, we have to go through a system of behavior logs, rule writing and
> It's really kind of a pointless system if you ask me. Students really
> care about writing an essay. They just won't do it. Then they get
> and they don't even really care about that it seems.
> I actually haven't given out any rewards yet, so I'm really not locked in
> anything. The kids have no idea that I've been thinking of incentives at
> Some teachers say I shouldn't even start it, but I thought that it might
> encourage them to do better if they saw some students getting rewards. I
> going to do a buck system and allow them to cash them in every so
> ever two weeks or once a month...but I kind of like the idea of them
> earn four in order to get a reward. I might do that. I need to buy a
> or bowl to put stuff in. So far I have cute pencils, erasers, stickers,
> cheapo notepads and mini calendars and some stuff from the dollar store.
> is over $2.00.
> Maybe I could have captains check the bins, but don't I need some way to
> sure the captain is doing his or her job? How should I reward the captain
> that it's beneficial to be one?
> I have given some of my troublemakers jobs so that they know I'm not
> them and because I hope that giving them responsibility will help.
> it does, sometimes it doesn't. I did make a point to ask the "peeing in
> trash" boy to help me pass out rulers on Friday.
> How do you keep your kids quiet?
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