Today was my third day of being the teacher. We had a different sub today who was a teacher for something like 30 years before becoming a sub. It was helpful to have a sub who’s management style was more like my teacher than the previous one, not that he was bad it was just different because he is not a teacher. Today was slightly better than yesterday. I am not sure if it was because of the different sub or sending home that note yesterday or maybe because right off the bat this morning I started moving clips. Anyway…
Last night, I sent my college supervisor an email detailing the problems I was having and my reservations about involving the principal. I received the signed note back from the student I sent it home with yesterday. I then had a phone conversation with my college supervisor about the student and how I should handle the problems. She firmly suggested that I find out the procedures for taking a student to the principal’s office. During my student’s specials, I went in search of the principal. I found her giving a tour of the school to some people and obviously could not discuss things with her then. I went to the teacher next door and explained what was going on and asked what I should do. She helped out and gave some referral papers in case I needed them.
Things were a little more under control until specials. The student I had problems with yesterday was on yellow half-way through the day instead of red. When I picked the students up from the library, the librarian walked out in the hall to talk with me. I knew from the look on her face the there was trouble. I quickly glanced at my class and saw that the student was missing. The librarian asked me what was going with my students. I explained to her that I thought that they were acting up because they were pushing to try and see what they could get away with because my classroom teacher is gone. She handed me three notes home and explained that the student was in the office because she could not get him under control. I replied that I was fairly close to doing the same thing. She said when she told him he was going to the principal’s office he said that was fine and he wanted to sit in the time out room. When he was informed that he would not be going to the time out room but was going to talk with the principal he tried everything to not have to do it. I guess my decision not to take him to the time out room yesterday was the right choice.
I took the students back to the classroom and had the other two students move their clips for getting into trouble in the library. The students all sat on the rug for calendar and instead of starting calendar right away, I let them have it! I started by asking them if they had behaved in library. They all said no. Then I said,
“We have been having a lot of trouble behaving this week. Some of us are fighting with our friends, talking when we are not supposed to… Some of us are doing a fantastic job. Some are listening and following directions (I made eye contact with several of those students so they knew I was talking to them). But a lot of us are not having a good week (and here I made eye contact with several other students so they knew I was talking to them). That stops now. Just because the classroom teacher is not here does not mean you do not have to listen and follow the rules. The classroom teacher is going to come back next week and I would love to tell her we had a great week and she missed a lot of fun stuff but right now I can’t because our behavior is not good. We have this afternoon and two more days to make it better. If we don’t, I will tell her and she is going to be very disappointed. (At this point several students were on the verge of tears who were not even the students who were getting onto trouble.) The rest of today and this week we are going to listen to directions (and a student decided this would be good time to talk over me and address the class about something that happened in library, so called her name and continued) not talk when a teacher is talking; that includes the sub, the aide, the special teachers, and me. When we are telling you something you are listening not talking. We are going to have a better afternoon and day tomorrow. Do you understand me?”
Several students nodded and quietly said yes. I said, “good,” and began with calendar. After a few minutes of calendar, the office called and asked if they could send the student back to the classroom. I said yes and asked to sub if she could go to the office and make sure he made it back to the classroom. They walked in a few minutes later. The rest of the day was okay until I decided to send another red note home with him. His clip was still on yellow so he protested but I explained that if you have to go to the principal’s office you will have a note sent home. He was incredibly unhappy and stuffed it into his book bag. The classroom teacher has told me before that if a student goes to the office they are off the chart. (This was about a month ago when another student was having problems with hitting other students.)
I had another student who was off the chart and I wrote a note home to his parents too. It is not terribly unusual for him to have notes home because his issues go deeper than simply misbehaving.
I am having doubts about whether or not I can really do this every day. I am nowhere near in control of my students. I just want my classroom teacher to get back so that she can tell me where I am going wrong!