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Old 10-16-2008, 02:06 PM
Location: NE philadelphia
550 posts, read 2,052,204 times
Reputation: 207


HI, I am a certified teacher with experience teaching fifth grade in maryland.
I moved up to philly (romantic reasons...hehe) last year and subbed for a year....well after struggling to pay the bills and having no insurance i decided it was time to plunge into the school district of philadelphia (not so good rep).
so trying to make a long story short-i am just starting on monday-the hiring process here is horribly outdated in inefficient! so all week i've been on the phone with my placement school trying to find out what grade i'd be teaching on monday-i find out today SEVENTH GRADE!!!! EEK!!!! I am certified k-6 but since it is a self-contained classroom in an El school they say i can teach it-i am soooooo internally freaking out! what should i expect-i don't even know what kind of classroom management works for older kids (5th grade is right on that cusp where sillier and younger management techniques work)

so any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! i don't even know what i will be doing on monday! no idea where they are in the curriculum either i am visiting the school tomorrow to try to learn more!
Thank you all in advance if you have suggestions
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:17 AM
124 posts, read 479,155 times
Reputation: 55
First, before taking a job, you need to make sure it's is a school you want to work for. By you comments on how outdated the school is, you seem to not have a good outlook.

Back to the topic. You would be surprised that some of the silly techniques actually work with older students. I used some with HS students and worked out great. But at this age the students need to start taking responsibility for their actions. You have to be FIRM AND CONSISTENT!!!!!!! NO EXCEPTIONS. From the first day, show them that you are not pushover, that misbehavior will not be tolerated and dealt in a fair and consistent manner.

With methods, you can use discussions and debates. Junior High students are unruly and need interactive lessons. Limit presentations, overheads, and PowerPoint, but rather use cooperative work and other methods that have the students teach the class.

Finally, KEEP A ROUTINE. I know it sounds elementary but all students need a ROUTINE. Students like to know what to expect when the walk in the classroom. Attendance, Announcments, Collect Homework, etc., just finds what works for you.

Good Luck and you will do great!!!!
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Old 10-17-2008, 10:27 AM
Location: DC
3,301 posts, read 11,714,626 times
Reputation: 1360
When my mother worked in a Philly middle school she tended to keep the slightly-silly routine (it's just her personality as well). She was also fair and firm, and most of them loved her. Her basic idea was that if you act like an adult she treats you like one, and if you act like a child, well, embarrassment works well at that age. She's also not a screamer, which was a breath of fresh air for them. The previous poster is right with being firm, they'll take advantage if they sense that you can't take it (this goes just about anywhere).
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Old 10-17-2008, 04:19 PM
Location: Southern Illinois
10,364 posts, read 20,793,403 times
Reputation: 15643
I sub for special ed classes, which puts me in a lot of classrooms and I get to see a lot of teaching styles. The best teacher I've seen yet was one in an inner city school on the first day of school. She greeted the students at the door and directed them when they were lost. Then when class started, she came in and sat down and looked over her glasses, librarian style, with an almost glare. They got real quiet. Then she said, "There's one thing you gotta know about me. I'm old. I'm old and I'm mean and won't take any nonsense." Not only did they get quieter, but they didn't move or tap either. Then as soon as she had that established, she relaxed and explained what was going to be happening in class and what the rules were and what the consequences would be for missed assignments and such. Then she played a get-to-know-you game and the kids had a blast. There is no doubt in my mind that hers is one of the best behaved classrooms in the city schools and I took some lessons from her for my future classroom. Is she mean? I doubt it, but I also doubt that the kids ever pushed her to find out.

Also, from subbing I can say that 7th graders do like silly stuff sometimes, but you have to be careful how you approach it. If you can single out the class leader, and get him/her to go along with what you have in mind, you'll have the rest of them in your hand.
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:55 PM
901 posts, read 2,987,387 times
Reputation: 583
Be very firm in the beginning of school. Nip any problems as soon as they happen. Usually classes will decline gradually, then one day you realize your class is out of control. There has been a lot of good advice here, so I won't repeat it.

Make sure you have a fair rewards system in place. It doesn't have to cost you any money, it could just be special privledges. Try taking a few well behaved children with you for lunch once a week. Just spending time with you is a reward, and it's free. Also, "Read Assertive Discipline" by Lee Canter. There are some very good tips in there. Good luck.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:13 PM
216 posts, read 723,675 times
Reputation: 86
My top ten suggestions:
1)Consistency from the first minute. A 1,2,3 system can work. Stay firm and follow through on threats.
2)Positive comments need to outweigh negative
3)connect with the students...show them you have an interest in their lives by greeting them, chatting about their day, compliment them, play music they like when appropriate, etc...Most importantly let them know you care about their learning and their future by helping them when they need it.
4)Contact parents as soon as possible to introduce yourself and show them you are there for their child. Then if you have a problem later, they will be more likely to back you.
5)Make lessons dynamic, diverse, and purposeful (connect to their current life whenever possible)
6)Establish routines and be organized. If you are a disorganized mess, 7th graders will quickly take advantage of you.
7)Don't be afraid to kid around with them a little. If middle school students sense that you truly like them and like being their teacher, they will respond to you.
8)Never let them see you sweat. Keep your emotions level and don't scream or shout. Middle schoolers will quickly try to get you to that point so they can get a laugh. It becomes a game. A calm demeanor is really important.
9)Develop learning games that foster fun competition, but set ground rules for behavior carefully beforehand. Middle-schoolers like games. Internet searches will provide you with loads of ideas.
10) Let them get to know a little bit of you....your faults, embarrassing moments, tough times in school, etc. BE REAL!

Good Luck and hang in there. You may be tested a bit, especially starting after the year has begun. If you truly love teaching, then every tear, laugh, and bruise is worth it.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:13 PM
Location: NE philadelphia
550 posts, read 2,052,204 times
Reputation: 207
THANK YOU ALL!!!! these are fantastic ideas and bits of advice! after speaking with the right person at the board offices all morning i switched schools. Now i start third grade on monday....that is also an unfamiliar grade to me, but I feel much more comfortable with that age group! I feel though that if in the future i decide i want to teach seventh i might be more prepared!
thank you all again!!!!

these are such great suggestions i will definitely be posting more inquiries if i have them about third grade
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:40 PM
1 posts, read 10,232 times
Reputation: 11
i need help with my math homeworkk
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:46 PM
13,981 posts, read 25,948,820 times
Reputation: 39915
Originally Posted by karla_babii View Post
i need help with my math homeworkk
Click on the sticky at the top of the page.
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Old 09-20-2010, 12:26 PM
443 posts, read 1,257,919 times
Reputation: 290
Glad it worked out for you. By the way, I have tweens and teens. Their 'best' teachers have been the ones that were very clear and very firm with them...no baby talk. This has been our experience with our high achieving type A oldest, our ADHD middle child and our shy and academically sturggling youngest. Clear rules, clear expectations...coupled with lots of praise. My kids have loved the teachers who offered the above, as have my husband and I.
Even my adhd son even admits that he does best academically and socially with the teachers that might not be 'fun', but make their expecations of work and behavior very clear from day one. They are as quick to tell him to button his mouth and get to work as they are to tell him how wonderfully he did not talking or moving too much at school mass (Catholic school). For future reference if you do move up grades, I am sharing this!

For third grade? I remember it as a year for my kids that separated the boys from the men, so to speak. The best advice I got that year was from a teacher who warned us to be sure our oldest had a physical outlet for stress as she had the 'perfect child' syndrome. We listened and still today (she is in high school) she remains in marital arts and it has indeed helped her work out anxiety. That year, the teacher had her peer tutor other kids rather than push herself to constantly move forward. GREAT move on the teacher's part! I also recall a teacher telling us that our oldest son (ADHD) might do better with more structure. He is now in Catholic school and she too was right. Teachers seem to have a crystal ball with our kids during their 3rd grade year! Wonder what they will say of our future kids!!

Best of luck to you!!

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