My afternoon class is still giving me fits. Today, we didn't cover nearly as much in that class as we did in the morning class. Mainly because I had to keep stopping the class to discuss rules and expectations.
I start to wonder if I am being too stubborn. I know that some teachers continue through a lesson, hitting all the key points, getting the meat of the matter covered, even if some kids are off task or not paying attention. And it works fine for them, and they are good teachers. But that has just never worked for me. If I see anyone, even just one kid, not paying attention when we are going over homework or a concept, I feel compelled to stop and get him focused. As a result, I often take longer or find myself behind with certain classes.
With THIS class, I feel like I am getting WAY behind! I ask for someone to share an idea, and as soon as that person starts speaking, 2 other people across the room start talking to the person next to them. I say, "Excuse me, the rule in this classroom is that we listen when others talk. She is talking right now, so you need to be listening to her." But then less than a minute later, the exact same thing happens again. And again. And it's not exaggerating to say that nearly every single time someone (including myself!) starts to talk in my class, I have to stop the person (or myself!) and remind kids about our number one rule!
I just don't know how I can make this expectation any clearer! I have signed behavior folders of kids who break the rule. I have rewarded kids nearby who show good listening. I have modeled, we have discussed.
I feel like I am being the meanest, most hard-ass teacher on the planet, YET it still doesn't seem to be having an effect! I had hoped that by being so stubborn and hard-ass at the beginning, that I would stop the problem from being a year-long problem. And maybe it will. But I just feel like nothing is improving.
I am thankful to a good friend who teaches next door, who stopped by after school and said that her friends always remind her that she says her kids are the worst behaved, most awful, most annoying kids ever -- at the beginning of each school year. But that things always get better.
Maybe I'm just forgetting how every year starts. I really really hope so.