cannot make bricks without clay (shes_unreal) wrote in schoolishell,
cannot make bricks without clay

The fatal flaw

I made the mistake of being "too nice" to my kids initially, and now the fifth graders refuse to listen to me.

By "being nice" I mean letting them use the restroom when they asked, letting them sit out of activities they didn't want to do as long as they were quiet (since I'm just doing an after school program and nothing is graded), and letting them draw pictures during homework time if they finished their homework or don't have any due to testing.

Apparently because of this and general 5th grade uppityness, these kids no longer listen to me at all. I took another teacher's advice and told them that I'd given them the freedom to make choices, and they had made bad ones (because they've continually been misbehaving up to this point), so now they don't get choices. They are no longer allowed to sit out of an activity or draw pictures and they all have to go to the bathroom together when I say.

This means that now I basically have to spend an inordinate amount of time hounding them, and when they finally do line up or do whatever else I've told them to do, they get in a snit and ask to be transferred to a different group. Last week one girl went to the attendance office and called her mother because, since I wouldn't leave her in the lunchroom to draw hearts and chit-chat with her little friends, she wanted to get picked up early and not be in the after school program anymore.

And it's not just things like talking back or being loud -- it's blatantly lying to adults' faces, trading insults to the point of coming to blows, walking around the classroom bothering other kids, getting into drawers and cabinets in the classroom and stealing things, and walking out of the classroom without permission to just wander the halls (and lying about having permission when another teacher finds them).

I spend so much time dealing with four or five kids that the other seventeen or so end up waiting around all the time for the other kids to line up with them or to settle down so that instruction can continue.
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