Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Behaviors Gone Wild!

I know, I know....second post within 30's just that a lot has happened over the last two weeks!! I was talking to my CT at my 5th grade school a couple of days ago. She works at the after school program too, so we get to chat and catch up on things. She told me that at the 5th grade "Data Day" meeting, she learned that the scores, particularly reading, of our students had plummeted since the beginning of the year. Students who had been our highest achievers had dropped from 144 wpm to 100 wpm. From what she told me, the tone of the meeting was one that pointed the finger at her and her instructional strategies. It was more like a "what the heck are you doing in there?" kind of attitude. They just couldn't understand why this would be happening. My CT discussed with the group that there is nothing different that she is doing now, compared to what she did during the 1st quarter. The thing that is different now is the out-of control behaviors in our classroom. The other teachers suggested other behavior management strategies for my CT to implement, but she has tried all of them.

I guess I am torn on this situation. I do not agree with the "dependence" for lack of a better word, that my CT has on worksheets and teacher-directed instruction. What I do know is that the incredible amount of behavior problems that we have in our classroom impeed and cooperative learning, "out of the box" experiences that we try to implement. Right now, they cannot handle it. I'm sure you're wondering, okay, how bad can the behaviors be? Well, the group of teachers that work on class lists decided to put the most challenging students in 5th grade in our classroom...why? Because they felt like my CT could handle it. Well, sure, she could handle them, but when you put all 12 of them (literally!!) in a classroom is almost impossible to manage. During this second quarter, behaviors have started to escalate. Even with having conferences with each student, discussing behaviors with their parents, writing them up, suspending them, offering incentives or rewards for good behavior, and more, we still have the same problems. My kids are GREAT kids and they bring me so much joy! I look forward to seeing them everyday, not matter how off-the-wall their behaviors may be. Learning is being affected by their poor conduct, but what do you do? The other 5th grade class does not deal with these issues because they do not have the behavior problems that we the way, this 5th grade teacher was on the committee that worked on the Class List!!!

I guess I just want to know if any of you out there have lived through a situation like this? I am not in the 5th grade class right now, but I am getting nervous because when I come back in January, I can only imagine what I will be walking in to.
I want to know what strategies other educators have used to get control of behavior problems so that true learning can actually take place.

1 comment:

  1. I think that is a problem for a lot of teachers that are "good" with behavior problems--they end up getting them all in their classes at once! The same thing happens to me with ELL students and students with special needs. Since I really enjoy working with those groups and I have endorsements in those areas, I get a lot of kids that require additional support, which I love, but it's a lot of work.

    I feel like behavior issues are not my strong suit. I do think, however, that it is not entirely your job to get control of those kids. The CT should have a larger role in making sure the kids are ready to learn when you are teaching. With two teachers, I think you should have the experience in teaching and CT should handle the discipline so you don't have TOO much on your plate at once. Learning how to handle behavior problems is a must and you should gain experience in that area, but not at the expense of being able to teach a lesson and engage the class.

    How is your experience going in middle school??