Look, when you work with a rowdy inner city population – you best come in strong day one. But a tough personality and some rules are not enough to control all that chaos.
I love my students forever and ever but I need things to flow perfectly to maintain my classes of 30-40 kids and avoid disruption and most importantly, fights, at all costs. Yeah, it will still happen, there are some things just out of your control, but we can limit the numbers!
My life changing strategy: procedures. Seems easy enough, but which ones do you choose?!
To start the class:
Let them get their jitters out, set a timer for 2-3 minutes that will begin to count down after the bell has rung. During this time, my kids can do whatever they need to, but following that timer – I am on the move. They know that I will be coming around to check their homework from the night before AND to see that they are ACTIVELY working on the ‘para empezar’ warm up. (which needs to be posted on the board before students even walk into class.) If they have both things, they get a stamp which equals 5 points. Make sure they are ACTIVELY working because so many kids will wait for you to review the warm up, snag a picture of it, air drop it to everyone and their brother, and just copy the answers. No. Not acceptable.
Officially starting class
T: “Buenos Días Clase”
S: “Buenos Días Profe”
*** their ojos should be on you, mouths shut, pencils down***
T: ¿Cómo están ustedes hoy?
S: Students may look at desk with their “how are you” response sheet (access here) and respond.
Now you are ready to begin.
I do recommend you assign jobs (or as I like to do, utilize my heritage Spanish speakers as teacher assistants and have them pass out papers, collect things, grade quizzes, etc.)
Absent Station/ Student Station:
For the love of God, these kids ask me way too many questions during class so set up everything you could possibly think of that they might need and put it in a back corner of the room that they can access easily without disrupting you or distracting anyone else. The less they have to talk to me, the better.
Obviously they have to ask in Spanish. Yes they have to wear a sombrero wherever they go. That way administration knows EXACTLY what room they are coming from in the case that they start to just wander. A sign in/out sheet isn’t a bad idea either – they must put the times and you check them every Friday to see if they are abusing time spent in the hallways. I usually allot 5 minutes total for a there and back trip.
Kids getting turned up:
You should know when they are getting rowdy or starting to cause an issue. In my room, they know to ‘take a lap’ which means one lap around the hallway and back in your seat calmed down.
It drives me crazy when they pack up or stand up before the bell. So always plan a mini activity 5-10 minutes before the bell. Wrap your lesson up and transition to this when possible. As for me, I show them a music video which they track on a sheet. Access that here
I like to do a “music video bracket” on one of my bulletin boards as well and after we watch the videos, we vote on them and update the brackets to find the best music video of the year!
Usually this goes to the bell, but even if it doesn’t, you make sure that they are in their seats when that bell rings otherwise no one is going anywhere. Which, yes, sounds good in theory but one time I literally had kids push me to the side and just walk out…so do what you can.
Good luck! You can do this!