Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ask NYC Educator

Here's a letter I got from a reader. Has anyone got some advice for this teacher?
Here's the situation: I have 2 8th grade classes. One is "high-functioning" and is, on the whole, problem-free. They come in, get to work, and generally allow me to get through a lesson without much in the way of disruption. The other group is "lower-functioning" and...well, anything with this group is a challenge. They just won't stop talking long enough for me to introduce anything, give instructions...even if I do have group work or something kinesthetic or SOMETHING "engaging" for them to do.
Since it's only the 3rd week of school, I figure I still have some time to salvage this class if I act quickly. And to pre-empt many reader suggestions: 1.) Yes, I've called homes, but only to introduce myself--the whole class is really the problem, except for maybe 3 or 4 very quiet kids; 2.) Yes, we had tons of time to practice rules and procedures, including a test; 3.) Yes, I've tried both carrots (extra credit points via a "listening" game) and sticks (extra writing assignments); 4.) Yes, I'm aware that most of my kids don't listen to spoken directions well, and I'm trying to make sure I have lots of visual cues for them to know that it's time to be quiet, like my body language, position in the room, facial expressions, etc.
Most of the other teachers in my K-8 school are well acquainted with this bunch, and seem to have thrown up their hands and are just waiting for them to graduate. I feel, though, that since many of these kids are sitting for the SHST and, even if they're not, will require some greater measure of self-control in high school, it's my job to try to instill some self-control in them (as well as readin' and 'ritin).
blog comments powered by Disqus