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First, (and I've been in your shoes- taught at the "good" school and the "bad" school) realize that they are just kids. That's all. They are all just kids and they have different struggles. Try to place yourself in their shoes for a day- a week- a month- and realize that- that is their life everyday. When I let that sink in- was when I realized that I needed to come at them in a loving way. Most of my difficult students just needed a positive role model that loves them. I love and adore working with my (as everyone else sees them) my difficult students. I struggled ridiculously when I started at the school, but within a few months and lots of guidance- this is the gem that saved me from several gray hairs and loving my kiddos.
Hi Kathy- Make it different. Don't start off the day by having them sit down and reading the rules to them. This is what they expect and if they have a reputation as "bad" kids then they will assume that you are like all of the other teachers that they have had in the past. Get them involved in a group or collaborative activity. Stand out as someone that this different and is letting them start the year with a clean slate. *I am not suggesting that you don't discuss expectations, but maybe save it for day 2. ;)
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