I can’t sleep because I lost control with my 2nd academic class yesterday. This class has had the most difficult time adjusting to the environment I am trying to establish in my math class. Even after setting expectations and routines, they still struggled tremendously working independently as table groups and small groups based on ability.
I’ve tried positive reinforcements, complimenting those students who were meeting the expectation, I’ve restated expectations with each next step. We’ve even started a compliment chain in which the students will receive a treat if they earn enough compliments to make the chain reach the floor. These are all tactics which have been proven effective in the past and with my other classes, but for 2nd academic not so much.
So today I lost it. I raised my voice at them in frustration and with the fear of failing. It was probably for 1 solid minute that I went on my rant about how I had had it. Of course compliance followed. But I don’t want compliance, I want these kids to be excited about the opportunity to think, the freedom to do math their way and level of engagement created by doing hands on math activities. Before class ended, I apologized to them. I let them know it wasn’t okay for me to talk to them like that. I emailed their parents to let them know what I had done.
But here I am up since 4am, when I don’t need to awake until 6:30am. I’m pondering ways to reach these students. After reading @turtletoms comment to my Voices Carry post, discussing logical consequences vs punishment I’ve decided I’m going to use logical consequences. I plan on rearranging seating arrangements. In the email sent to parents yesterday, I encouraged them to come and visit the classroom. I want the students to know, their parents and I collectively care about their success and understanding in math this year. But that’s where I am stuck.
I’m open for suggestions. With a group of students not used to freedom, how have you been able to instill in them the desire to want more for themselves.