Teachers???? How do you do it????

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by mrscatinthehat, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Ok, I almost ran screaming away from the middle school today. I am teaching a babysitting class on Mondays for a special program at one of our middle schools. I was supposed to have 10 and it blossomed into 12. All middle school girls. I HATED IT!!!! I have to tell you I was miserable. I didn't get done what I needed to because they wouldn't settle down. I have one that won't stop showing off. Then got really snarky with me when I pointed out she was not being respectful. They talk all the time without asking. They don't focus. This is a paying job my boss decided to extend me from CPR/ First Aid to teaching this. OMG. When today was over I calmly walked out of the building and walked home. It took everything not to run like the fires of Hades were following me. It took more not to open the fridge and drink every drop of alcohol that we have in the house.

    How do you do it? How do you get them to cooperate. Even just a little. I am going to have to do some follow up with what type of kids are in this group and maybe make some changes in what I am doing. The problem is with it being the first time to teach this class I am learning it also. Which normally isn't a problem but today ooooff.

    I admit it. I am over my head. I can do a lot. This not so much. Middle school kids are scary. I am alone in the room with these girls. The guy setting this up didn't tell me that until about 2 minutes before hand. I know when he walked away he had to have laughed at my reaction. I swear my eyes would have fallen on the floor from bugging out if it hadn't been for my glasses holding them in.

    The other lady had asked me if I had experience teaching middle schoolers. I said I have three kids and gave their ages. She told me I would be fine. She lied. I could threaten my own kids. Is it April yet????

    When I told the guy we would be done by Christmas break he said we could have another class. Haha. I may never get done teaching this group.

    Man my head hurts.

  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I refuse to work in a junior high. I hate that age. They're awful one on one, and worse in a group. I don't know how people do it all day, every day, and I can't imagine how someone would want to substitute for that age group, unless combat pay is offered.

    Sending many hugs. I feel for you.
  3. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Beth...dear Beth. The best piece of advice I got in college was if you teach MS, you have to be equally neurotic of the kids. Personally, I loved that age. Most of my 20+ years were in MS. They are mostly smart enough to get my dry humor, but I can still intimidate the heck out of them when they get sassy.

    You'd be surprised, but simple things like a small candy or sticker can go a long ways. They want to pretend that they're too old for those things, but they LOVE them. We'd have tossing wars where I'd throw a wrapped caramel at some kid...if he caught it, he'd have to throw it back. If I caught it...he'd get two.

    I'd give stickers for about anything you could imagine. You'd never seen agendas that were so perfectly written out. They lived for the little sticker I'd put on it when I checked them out.

    Every now and then a kid would accidently cuss. I'd just stop dead in my tracks, look them dead in the eye...then slowly walk over to their backpack. Whatever I would find that is good bargaining stuff (cool pens, cell phones, IPods) I'd take. Of course I'd eventually give them back, but they learned REAL quick to not mess with me. I always chuckled at watching the students surrounding the 'offending' child clutching their backpacks to their chests.

    Bottom line is that we can all have fun. But when it's learning time...you better buckle up.

    Have fun with them. There are a lot of teachable moments that happen when it is not in the lesson plan.

  4. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Middle School---Ugh. I do have a group of 9th grade boys---close to the same. You have to be authoritatively loving---if there is such a thing. Start the class with a "shocker" maybe something like a scene from Adventures in Babysitting or Uncle Buck. Then have them list all the things the babysitter does wrong? You've got to get their attention with something right off the bat. Is this a required course for them? Do they get grades or a certificate for completing? Make a list of requirements to get an good grade or pass to get the certificate. REWARD, REWARD, REWARD
    Did I mention that I hate middle schoolers---didn't even like my own when they were that age.
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Abbey---when mine accidentally curse, I tell them the next time they will call their mom or dad (or guardian) and that will be the first thing they will say. It usually never happens again, but you can imagine the shock of a phone call from school and hearing your child say........
  6. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    I had a friend who had to help cover a class ( just a parent mind you - NO educational background except for scary nuns with rulers!) for a couple of days while a teacher was on a "death in the family" leave.

    She had the demons for 4 days.

    The first day was a living hell...all girls Catholic school (my alma mater) and they were giving her a run for her money.

    I gave her my opinion.

    I told her to tell the ones that weren't interested in the class to do anything they wanted as long as they weren't distracting the others that DID want to pass and that she would cover things pertinent to their future with the "disinterested parties" in the last 2 mins of the period.

    At the end of the period she was to instruct them to "repeat after me".

    "Welcome to McDonalds, may I take your order" and "Do you want fries with that?"

    Mind you, this is how I finally got my "at the time" 8 year old to do his homework - but the point was made.

    Now. Go get the blender, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, milk, Hersheys syrup, a shot of vodka, a shot of Kahlua and ice. Mix, blend, big glass, straw, hot bath. Relax!

    Don't let them intimidate you. Don't bother telling them that they're being disrespectful - they already know that. Start teaching the lesson, but speak in a voice about 10 decibals lower than you ordinarily do. If they keep ignoring you, keep going and in the last 15 mins. of the period, have them write a paper on what they learned during this class.


  7. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    You know, nearly everyone does it from time to time. I don't think I EVER made it through a fire drill without saying, "SH*T!" It was the loudest and most annoying siren you could fathom.

    So, you can go two routes. (Beth...listen) You can do the scripted thing and write a kid up for detention or the dean for bad language, or you can be creative. I think in the long run they appreciate you more for being an actual human that makes occasional mistakes.

  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I've taught high school, middle, and elementary. I like all three levels (elementary is my favorite). Middle school is definitely the hardest. A good sense of humor is important with middle school kids, it goes a long way. Of course when they are being PITAS it's sometimes easy to lose your sense of humor.

    Sorry it was such a rough first day.
  9. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I used to be a middle school art teacher. I found I could connect with the boys better than with the girls but, in any case, they take some special handling. Remember that middle school kids are like kindergarteners with PMS. They don't know why they do the things they do.
    First, you have to get their attention. I like the idea of the video from Adventure in Babysitting or something like that.
    Second, no matter what they do, you have to remain calm. They love it when they can set you off and when they do, you've lost the battle.
    Third, they have a very low bull$#!+ factor. You have to be relevant and show them that you know what you are talking about and that you have something that will be useful to them.
    Fourth, and most important to me, keep a sense of humor. I guess I related to them well because my funny side is a little juvenile but you can use that to your advantage. You have to walk a fine line and still be the adult but if you can get them to laugh, you've won part of the war.
    Good luck.
  10. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Thanks for the support. Unfortunately this class has to be pretty scripted to get everything in. I like some of the reward ideas. I will have to arm myself with something for next time. They do get a certificate at the end if they pass a test. Not too complicated but some bits if they don't pay attention they will not remember from week to week. Maybe by next Monday I won't feel so shell shocked. I was prepared a bit (knowing full well this age group can be a challenge) but it is a whole other ball game when you face them. I just have to get my brain to figure out the right method for them.