Question Detail

What do you do when kids overwhelm you?

Feb 27, 2013 11:57am

I have 33 first graders who seem to have more internal and emotional damage than typical. I have tried positive & negative tactics to keep them on task but they don't stay there. There are just too many for me to manage and teach, too. I've been at this for over 30 years and have never felt this overwhelmed and frustrated. I feel guilty that the kids who can and will listen have their time taken by the majority who misbehave, talk, ignore, play, move, etc. Then there are the ones who pay so little attention that they are not getting what they need. My empathy level is high and almost everyone has a set of baggage that would cripple an adult. There is no aide and my parents can't or won't volunteer. The room is overcrowded and I cannot even table the desks because they get too loud and are not able to see the board. Centers never work well because of the noise and I am under pressure to get results. I miss the joy of teaching so much. Those rare occasions when I have just a few kids are great. Ideas?

  • Other
  • Pre K-2
  • Behavior / Class Culture / Engagement / Planning


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    • Feb 27, 2013 1:48pm

      Hi Sue, What a tough situation you have going on. I have had one class that was a real struggle for me as well. Here are some things that helped:
      - The administration. How supportive is your administration? Mine would come in and observe my class and offer ideas or constructive comments.
      -Starting over. Telling the kids that things were not working and we were going to make some changes to the daily routine.
      - Switching it up. Trying out new things in the classroom that I usually didn't do. This was more prep work for me but paid off in end.
      -Focusing on relationship building. The more my students got to know me and me them, the more we were able to gain a mutual respect and trust for one another and everything got better from there!
      Good luck and hang in there.

      • Mar 12, 2013 7:41am

        Hey Sue! I looked out of my classroom door and down the hall to see if you worked where I work! Here's what I do: take home the little successes. If you have a student who did something where you can see it pay off years from now, take that home! If you "catch someone doing something good," reward that hugely where everyone can see, and take that home! Remind yourself that you are the person who sets the tone in your classroom. And finally, because of your high empathy, take care of yourself!

        • Apr 20, 2013 1:14pm

          Hi Sue,
          I had 33 kindergarteners one year, and I had a really hard time with the same issues. Sometimes scheduling little moments to have fun with them and be positive improved my own mood so I could get through the day.

          My favorite "fun" thing was called "silent ball." They sit in a circle and point to the person they are going to roll the ball too. Not only do the kids love it, it gives you a breather and a moment of silence (or as close as you can get to it!)

          I also scheduled a time each day to compliment students. They got to hold a stuffed animal as a prize, and later they complimented someone else!

          These are just small things, but for me it was the idea that I needed to still find a way to have fun and be positive with the kids. I almost quit teaching that year it was so hard, but this got me through it.

          • Mar 4, 2013 4:11pm

            My administration isn't a great deal of help but I know you are right about building relationships. I'll try a new approach and see how it goes. Sometimes it just helps to have someone remind me that we've all gone through tough years and managed to survive them. Thanks.

            • Oct 7, 2014 10:33pm

              Expose them to positive role models.

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