It's OUR job.

There's a blog I read. I've been reading it for a while, and I enjoy it, generally agree with the author's perspective, usually feel like I understand where s/he's coming from. But recently....I'm having a hard time with an attitude the author is expressing.

S/he has a class that is particularly challenging. And I get that, I do. (Hi,
eighth period! How are you?) But right now, the author seems to be blaming the student behavior solely on the students. And sure, the kids are in charge of themselves, and kids make crappy choices all the time. But so do we all, and in the end, we're the adults, and it's our job to figure out how to make the class work.

Let me say that again: it's our job.

And if the class is out of control, we're not doing our jobs.

I know that's an unpopular viewpoint in a lot of circles, and I also know that classes ebb and flow, and even the best classes can be sucky some days, and it's almost impossible to not get annoyed. But after we get over being angry, we need to look at the root of the behavior, because whatever we try, whether it be punishment, rewards, negative reinforcement, or what have you, nothing will work permanently unless we can figure out the root of the problem and deal with that.

I'm learning that the hard way right now, a story I'll share tomorrow.

To be continued....

(Photo credit to waka jawaka)


Rachel said...

I agree, though with one caveat: if our administration isn't backing us up, it does make our job infinitely harder. I'm sure it could be done, but if you don't have administration that enforces the school discipline policies, your own ability to enforce towing the line is significantly reduced. But yes, as much as it's difficult to admit, it is our jobs. And if you're not trying a variety of methods to control the class, you're not trying hard enough, IMO.

Joan said...

I have a tough group this year and it feels like its two steps forward and one step back as I continually adjust and tweak my classroom management for this crew.

I know, at the end of the day, it is my technique and my choices that have guided the day. Some days I can feel the room getting toxic and I know without a doubt that more has to be done. It is a struggle. I've never had a group like this. But, by your standards, maybe it is just me.

teachin' said...

Rachel - yes, admin is definitely really important, and not having a supportive admin would be terrible. I agree.

Joan - I think that the group dynamic is a huge part of how any class functions, and I don't mean to dismiss that. Sometimes you have to change a schedule or two to change a dynamic, because sometime the root of the behavior for several kids is one particular student (though even if you move them out, you still have to figure out their issues....). But you said that you're adjusting and tweaking your classroom management - to me, that means that you are taking responsibility for the class and how it functions. Which is what I think every teacher should do. And I've certainly had days (or weeks, or months...) where a particular class just did not work well, whatever I did, and it was incredibly frustrating. But I still had to keep trying to change how I was interacting with those kids to try to create a new feeling in the class. You're doing that. The teacher I'm taking issue with is not. So I hope I didn't offend you with my post, as that was totally not my intent.

Joan said...

No ~ no offense. It is just a tough year! I have a self-contained 6th grade class. I keep thinking it would be easier if we switched classes, but not enough teachers are HQ'ed in the subject areas.

Love your blog! We need a place to rant, bounce ideas, etc...

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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