A blog about all things pertaining to Trent Lott, Leadership and Blogs.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Management Plan?

I wouldn't quite say that my management plan is in shambles, but it certainly has "evolved" a good deal from its initial state.

Much of the problem for first year teachers is that you enter the classroom with little knowledge of the particular situation regarding detention, office referrals at the school.

I did not include detention in my management plan, but now I know that the school offers saturday detention, and this serves as an excellent deterrent to misbehavior.

My management plan reserved office referral for severe infractions, but it seems that most of the other teachers have a much more liberal approach to the disciplinary method. I've been hesitant about giving referrals, but if I had made a few more examples early on I'd probably have better managed classes today.

Calling parents is key. I also didn't put this too early on in my management plan but I've now learned that particularly for sixth graders, speaking to parents is a crucial component of classroom management. I'm making up for some lost time now, but it still makes a noticeable difference.

So today, where am I. Disruptive students get a warning, then a call home, then detention, then an office referral. They come quick.

I'm still working on other management aspects. Most important right now is practicing smooth transitions between topics or activities, and finding ways to keep everyone busy. Most of my problems are from kids who are smart, finished with their work and booooooored.

Right now my classroom is a somewhat negative environment, where I'm constantly giving out warnings and punishments. I need to find a way to incorporate more positive incentives without inviting more disruptions.

Bathrooms. Probably my greatest headache of all. We have no air conditioning. An hour and a half is a long time for a sixth grader to stay in class. I had one kid faint and an another nearly piss himself. I have to let kids go to the bathroom, but then I find that most of my class is wasted dealing with a stream of requests. Beginning next week I will issue each student two emergency passes. They may used them at any time, but once they are done they will be finished for the semester. Hopefully this will provide some sort of resolution, but that remains to be seen.

Katrina the Merciful

Well now I've survived three weeks of school and one hurricane.

All through my years as a student I've experienced joy at the prospect of a snow day, and who could forget the infamous "extremely cold temperature" day back in 93. But no youthful relief, no excitement at the prospect of a day away from my classes could rival the giddying news that jackson public schools would be closed for this entire week.

Perhaps this is an indicator of how my first three weeks have gone. I've found out that this job is not impossible, just extremely demanding, mentally and physically draining to an unimaginable degree. I think that this is where first year teacher's problems come from. At a point the teacher's mind and body reach such a state of fatigue that trifling troubles seem much greater.

A good nights rest and some peace of mind can help enormously in this regard and I've done my best to keep 'em in my shopping cart.

Not that my kids don't drive me crazy. I can't believe how much variance there can be from one day to the next, or even one class to the next. Last Wednesday I handled my kids like an old pro and thought to myself that this job could be easy. The next day brought me back down to earth, with two of my classes reaching the classification of "Zoo" and me ready to throw in the dry erase board. I've learned that there is little certainty in this job, and you can never, ever, let your guard down.

Things should improve. At the height of my thursday insanity i snuck away from the lunchroom for a minute and dragged myself, half staggering into the principal's office, desparate for some assurance that my load of 184 students will some day be reduced. She promised it would. When it does, I imagine that it will be something like the old "livestock in the house" story. Bringing my classes down to even 26, 27 students would seem an unimaginable luxury.

In the meantime, I'll take this vacation, and thank the hurricane gods for putting a silver lining on this otherwise catastrophic storm system.