Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Random Venting Session

I've been wanting to blog for a while and haven't set out time to do it.  I have a lot on my mind in regards to my classroom and what's going on, so I'm not sure what this post will look like in the end.

What I can say for sure right now is that I'm a first year classroom teacher who is in survival mode.  I remember reading about these different modes from the book "The First Days of School" by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong, and survival mode definitely sounds like me.  I am really struggling with classroom management, and every day I'm just trying to get through it.  It sucks a lot because I really love to teach and I want so badly to be good at it, but management does not come naturally to me.

I read all the time about how some teachers are naturally good at it but most of us have to work at it to improve.  I'm constantly working and pushing myself to try different strategies, and some things work but others do not.  I'm just so frustrated right now because I'm really unhappy with the behaviors in my classroom, and I feel at a loss for how I can really change them.

I have a tendency to complain about the behaviors they exhibit that I really don't like, but I don't want to get caught up in all that here.  I do it enough at work and am trying to quit.  The funny thing is that I really love most of my students.  I'll admit there are a couple who work my nerves on the daily and it's taking me a bit longer to warm up to them.  And it's those kids who are causing the majority of the behavior problems in my classroom, which are trickling down to the rest of the class.  But someone told me to be curious about them, and really get to know and figure out why they behave the way they do.  So I'm working on that relationship building.  I've already eaten lunch with all of my students at least once (in small groups), and now I'm eating with each child one-on-one.

I'm trying to keep believing that things will get better, but I'm also realistic and as we get closer to November, I'm starting to accept the fact that this is who they are and there is only so much I can say and do to build character in them.  This may be the reality of what my classroom is like all year.

I will continue to gather strategies from everywhere: other people, books, observations, etc.  I will continue to hope it will get better, but I don't want to set myself up for disappointment either.  Hopefully, I will be able to make more time to blog about specific issues and continue to reflect on my role in the class and what dynamic I bring to the culture that I have created.  Because one thing I will not do is place all the blame on them....I recognize I play a big part in this too and I've started to ask myself what I'm doing wrong, since at the end of the day I'm the only person I can really control.

Anyway, this has all been just some random babblings.  I have a lot on my mind and I just needed to get something down on "paper" and out of my heart.  I hope my future postings will be more streamlined and focused than this.


  1. Keep your head up! You hit the nail on the head when you said you were focusing on relationship building. This can be a long arduous process! The key is to be genuine. Kids don't care what you know, until they know you care! They need to know that you have a genuine interest in their lives inside and outside of the classroom. Go to some of their basketball games, know who their friends are, find out what they're passionate about, be real!

  2. I like what you said about being genuinely interested. None of them have invited me to their games yet so I was thinking of asking them if I could come, but I feel silly inviting myself along :-P I will definitely keep up the eating lunch piece all year round. Thanks for your comment!

  3. 246 people have downloaded this document thus far... for what it's worth:


  4. I didn't realize this is your first year teaching! I take it you were in your student teaching last year...

    I will say this: the first year of teaching is tough...for everyone. You learn about so many theories and methodologies in the college classroom and don't get to put many of them to use to see if they actually work until you feel all alone in YOUR classroom. Teaching is largely about trial by error. The beauty of it is reflection will help you to tweak the areas you recognize need improving...whether it's classroom management or developing rapport with your students (I agree, they often go hand in hand). I know that you are well on your way because you're already reflecting and you have the desire to be a great teacher! The text you mentioned is a great resource...also try Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones. Test different methods on your students...use what seems effective, tweak or scrap what doesn't. Hang in will get easier over time, and you will be able to look back and feel proud of yourself for overcoming the trials and frustration!