George Lucas Educational Foundation

Christmas Is Comming . . .

Christmas Is Comming . . .

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And Thanksgiving has just ended. They've been home for a week, and they know they'll only be in school for three more weeks before they're out for two weeks at Christmas. When I started this job, my students were way, way, WAY out of control. It was very hard, very exhausting work just to try to keep them from fighting one another. These are kids with understandable and very serious anger and behavior issues. I'm dreading returning to what I fear will be the same sort of classroom in the morning, and then after Christmas. Most of these kids will have enough gifts. But I expect that few of them will feel safe or peaceful durring the holidays. Our classroom is small and we're, all thirteen of us (including me and my Para), in this small room all day long. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to deal with things?

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Erika Saunders's picture
Erika Saunders
6th-8th Special Ed, LS & Mentally Gifted teacher

When I had my own classroom, I had a class of 16, 3 sets of siblings, and more than two thirds who either were currently or had been in our school's on-site child crisis team. All this and no other help but me!

I found that routines kept me sane and the kids on task. No matter what was happening - holidays, assemblies, half-days, etc. - I kept the routine going. There was no "free time" because it was almost something (Christmas, Friday, Spring Break, etc.) . I would often have students say, "But Ms. .... isn't teaching in her class. It's not fair!"

Even with all their protests, I knew that keeping the routine going helped them. Kids really do WANT a routine and for things to be structured. Of course, this doesn't mean that you can have a little fun. You can always make the assignments more tailored to fit the season.

My craziest days were when I let the routine go. You know, those days when you just don't feel like you can do it! So you give some "easy" assignment or deviate a bit from the routine. Boy, did I ALWAYS regret doing that! It would always end up that sticking to the routine would have been so much easier and better for all involved.

I hope that helps! Hang in there!

Housecat's picture

Well, you're right, of course, and the biggest problem in my class is lack of routine. But I never know when kids are going to be called out of my classroom, nor what they're called for. I never know when the bus is comming--you'd think that the end of the school day is fairly set, but they were comming earlier and earlier for my students until I complained--and now it's later and later! Independant contracters that have been hired by the district come to help with portfolios and such, but I never know when to expect them. The phone rings off the hook and the intercom is always buzzing in--all for calling kids out for this or that. My kid's didn't have a schedule for a month after school started, and now it's been changed mid semester. Each classroom interruption makes it that much harder to keep the children focused and attentive to school work. I just don't know how to function very effectively in this environment and I will face my Praxis III in here next semester! I also don't get to cooaborate with other teachers, and I didn't have a mentor assigned unitl a month and a half into the school year and I still never see her. I'm feeling very overwhealmed today!

c mon's picture

You do not mention age group . But you need a strong positive behavior plan. Try picking out the least agressive students in the class to use as the example of good behavior and reward them with tons of kudos. IE: free time special treats etc.. this way you are not punishing anyone for not acheiving just rewarding pos. behaviors they will all catch on. rewards must be spectacular though. We do not work for free Why should our students. We get a paycheck! Don't let any one kid you that students work merely because of a good grade!!Would You?

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