Calling all teachers--irritating students from Hell

Hallgirl1, who is fresh out of college, has taken over a 9th grade Health class as a long term substitute. She got the position a few weeks prior to the new semester, so this particular group of kids are new to her and she’s new to them. (She’s also new to the school, which is a hair’s breath outside of the very large city school district.)

She has three Health classes throughout the day, and two of the classes are great, however, her afternoon Health class is driving her crazy. She’s ready to quit teaching completely. The kids talk so much that she’s unable to do ANYTHING with them. It doesn’t seem to be any particular kid–but all of them. (I believe there’s 30 of them in this class, which seems to be an average class size.) she reports that the kids talk nonstop about “stuff”–what they’re going to do afterschool, who said what, who is wearing what, etc. (nothing related to the class).

She’s tried to break them into small groups (didn’t work), tried to give them “Busy work” such as worksheets, reading out loud, projects, etc. (didn’t work), sending out the obvious kids who are instigating the talking. She finally began calling parents yesterday, but she wasn’t able to get a hold of too many parents. (Not sure what happens if the student is laying on the floor, bleeding, and you need to notify the parents of an emergency and they can’t be reached…)

Do any teachers out there have any suggestions? She’s seriously at the end of her patience and is ready to walk.

Hmmm…health. We never took it too seriously. What kind of weight does it carry on their overall grade? Maybe she can just start grading them on participation every day and once their final grades start tanking, they’ll get the message.

(Not a teacher, btw)

Honestly, this is why teachers need to go through the process of taking the classes to get certified to teach, learning the theories and basics of pedagogy, administrative management, and so on; you can’t just dump somebody into a classroom and expect it to work.

Also, you said she’s just out of college, meaning she’s merely a few years older than the students - hardly someone they can take seriously. I think that too many new teachers are certified way too young and dumped into the classroom way too early - I’ve seen new teachers coming in at age 21-22, trying to teach 18-year-old seniors that (rightfully) look at them as a peer and not an authority figure.

(finishing up my student teaching right now at age 27)

She might wish to send the worst of the problem children to the principal for discipline.

She’s almost 24 (and an older sister, no nonsense, “I’m not taking any shit from you” 24). These are 9th graders…13 and 14 year olds.

Granted she’s out of school, but she did go through all the required classes, do her student teaching, graduated with her Bachelor’s degree, and became certified to teach in secondary education. Not sure if that counts for anything. :dubious: And I’m not sure what else she would do with her teaching certification if she wasn’t teaching.

As far as their grades, they simply don’t care. Flunk Health? Why not? What difference does it make to them? (they’re 9th graders…)

Keep in mind, for the most part, we’re talking (almost) inner city, early teen, lack of parental involvement/support and a very casual attitude (i.e. low support) from the adminstration.

A few lessons from when I was at school…

50cm Steel rulers - such an attention-grabbing sound when hitting the desktop next to you (extra impact if it goes thwaaaang for 20 seconds).

Chalk Stick - a little explosion of coloured dust on the desk followed by a fwee as the rest slides past the ear focusses the mind on the front

Blackboard Duster - multicoloured chalk dust, wooden thwack and probable impact certainly produces behavioural change

CO2 fire extinguisher - for motivating languid students during the hot summer months with frost burns.

School - it isn’t what it was, anymore :smiley:


Any new teacher (particularly substitutes) ought to get help from the senior staff.

There are discipline techniques for getting the attention of a large class, but they rely on back-up from the senior staff anyway.

Hope this helps.

She may not be able to do much under those circumstances (not a teacher, but I have girlfriends who have taught under similar circumstances - inner city school, little discipline).

Have her use her off hours to watch the students in their other classes and how their teachers handle them.

And if she sends to many children to the office the administration could just assume she doesn’t know how to control a classroom.

9th graders? Right after lunch? Good luck!

She might want to let loose her inner bitch a little bit. If she nukes a couple of students publically, and flays a few others, they will probably start to toe the line. She can also explore the wonderful world of Athletic Eligibility, Lack Of. Contacting the coaches is the first step. When I last taught freshmen, a chat with the football coach worked wonders. Coaches can use physical “motivators” that classroom teachers can’t.