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Struggling


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I am really sruggling this year with my year 1 class. Ii have not got a fulltime assistant and I am finding it impossible to give any kind of individual attention to chn who need it. I have a lot of chn this year who have very poor listening skills and who constantly use their loud voices and shout out. During whole class sessions i seem to be forever telling chn to sit properly, look at the speaker, listen etc. It is getting me down because i seem to have a lot of chn who have learning difficulties. I know it would be easier if i did whole class activities but i do not agree with that and like to provide a range of opportunities for the chn. I have tried a range of strategies to reduce the noise level when i am reading with the chn but they dont seem to be working. I feel like a very bad teacher this year and i have not felt like this before. Any advice much appreciated.

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Hi rocket, i understand exactly how you feel as I had a similar class last year and felt it was my fault however this year my class are very good at listening (similar to your previous years Im sure). One thing that worked with my children last year was 'Give me 5' not sure if you know it. Before we began a whole class input I'd ask them to give me 5 -

 

1: On your bottoms, legs crossed, 2: face the speaker, 3: ears and eyes open, 4: mouths closed, 5: ready to listen.

 

The children loved it. We always made sure we didn't begin until every one was ready even if it took the whole time and we didn't do our input - this was very frustrating but the only way we could control their behaviour. Im totally sympathise with you and hope you find some help :)

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Don't give up on yourself, or the children - it's only a few weeks really since you started with them. By the last day of the summer term you'll be enjoying every minute! It generally happens like that with tricky cohorts. Right - take a piece of paper and write down all the positives and good things that have happened in the last week, then the difficulties. I will bet that the positives do outweigh the negatives, it's just that we have a propensity to accentuate the negative instead of the positive. We all do this, even teachers with many years of experience! :)

 

I would suggest (and forgive me if you have already done so) really having a look at their profiles, what did children achieve, if there are children with SEN issues you need this specific information, have you talked to the Senco and Yr R teacher/s - are any on school action or action+? What strategies were used last year - did they work? Identify all the things you need to know about all the children, summer born, gender split, SEN, time in nursery/preschool etc, EAL/EMA. Then have a look at your planned curriculum and ask yourself about the pitch, the context, the possibilities for extended thinking and activity etc etc - are there any places where you can adjust the amount of whole class time to allow for the children's continuing adjustment to Y1 for this term? If they aren't all ready to sit for one amount of time then do it for less, and have confidence that you are basing this professional decision on your assessment of the children's needs.

 

Have a think about your ways of promoting positive responses to class rules, can you introduce a little peer pressure, like marbles in a jar, where if you see what you want you verbalise it, praise it and reward it by dropping a marble in the class jar. A full jar gets a treat for the whole class. Always rewarding what you see with praise and attention whilst downplaying the negative behaviour.

 

Are there any parents willing to come in on a regular basis to support? This might be a possibility to get at least an additional adult - it is hard in KS1 where the 1:30 ratio is more prevalent more often.

 

Don't beat yourself up - hang on in there!! :o:D

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Yep, ditto to all of the above. Have you tried dropping your voice? Children often respond really well to this. Setting class or individual challenges might work too.

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Guest tinkerbell

Lots of really good advice already!

With a mixed yr1 /2 class I had a golden wall which was alarge sheet of gold display paper marked up into bricks.If I caught a child doing something good eg good sitting, listening ,turn taking etc i would say..George put yourself on the wall. The child would write their name on a pre cut piece of paper and blu tac it on an empty brick...on Friday all the names were taken off and put in a bag and a name drawn out for a reward.

The children loved it cos the more times they were on the wall the more chances they had at winning....the prize was their choice of treat eg staying in at playtime to work on computer with friend or super golden sticker etc.

Good luck I'm sure you are a good teacher

Tinkerbell

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hi rocket, sorry you are feeling this way.

Give yourself some time off this week to rest and recuperate and go back in there next week ready to restart your rules and routines etc and really praise those who are conforming. You may find anyway that the children will return and be settled, I have found this before after a break. Make sure children understand what you expect of them and that your expectations are attainable so that you are not all fighting a losing battle. What were these children like in reception? Didnt you move up with them or is it a parallel class? Are they the younger ones?

 

Good luck, I'm sure its not as bad as you think!!

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Thanks for all the great replies. I am difinately going to try the golden wall. The children i had last year in Reception did not move up with me my Deputy suggested it would be best to give them all to the other year 1 teacher. I wish i had stood my ground now and fought to keep my class. I get so jelouse when i see how i moulded them and how good they are.

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Hi Rocket,

Reading your last post, I think you've actually put your finger on the reason why you have this class. Your deputy and SMT obviously have faith in your teaching and your last year's reception class stand as testimony to your capabilities!

Keep smiling (it's half term)

Barb

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Guest tinkerbell

Hi Rocket

Glad you like the Golden Wall idea.Another strategy I use is an idea that was in TES get a shiny box and put all your childrens names in it.When you want their attention shake it and make a big drama about pulling a name out to ask a question or whatever.You can use the box throughout the day until every child has been asked you also then know that youve questioned each child during the day.You could put names straight back in the box so the children never know if they are going to be asked again.( that will keep them on their toes) I also use the box for pulling out childrens names to take home Floppy (toy dog) or Barnaby Bear.The children see this as a fair way.

Another way of keeping their attention when you are talking and they are responding on the carpet is to have a pack of picture cards eg snap or animal cards give the child one and you keep the same one so when you want some one to answer you hold up a card and the child with the corresponding card holds it up and speaks, again shuffle them if you want to keep them on their toes or put to the bottom of the pack if you want all to have a go.

Have a good break Tinkerbell

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