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Need Help as a Teacher for Large Group Settings

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  • Need Help as a Teacher for Large Group Settings

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm a band director in a public school. I am having a tough time right now. I teach four bands at two different elementary schools. At one of the two schools there is a group of fourth grade students who don't work hard or even put forth much effort. I find myself at a loss as to how to encourage them to put in more effort both at home and school and not get upset with them. Their behavior is horrible and they just don't seem to care about anything. Sadly, I use a token reward system and will be getting rid of it next year!! Obviously, token rewards don't work anyway...

    In large group situations where students don't want to listen and don't seem to care what can I do/say to them? I feel like a broken record. When they are disruptive I stop the group and remind them that if they talk during class we will not be able to work hard and will not improve our playing. The don't care, keep talking don't listen. This happens class after class and I feel both embarrassed and degraded as an adult authority figure.

    What are some phrases I can use with a large group of students to help them put forth more effort and behave more respectfully. I use AP and gentle discipline with my DD and I want to do the same with my students, but honestly, I feel like I'm oozing negative vibes with how poorly the behave and how little effort they put forth.

    I've never had a group of kids with such bad behavior or lack of effort before. It's something new to me. Usually kids WANT to be in band...

    Thanks for your help!

  • #2
    I am a public school teacher, too. I try to employ AP principles at school as well. There are many things you can try, but what I have found works the most is by enlisting the students' help. Call a class meeting. Discuss the classroom issues, but allow it to be student-led. What do they think the problems are? What are their frustrations? What ar their ideas for solving the problems? Write their ideas down then lead them to develop a class contract. You might take it further by having them write down their own personal goals for behavior and performance. Then, when issues arise, you can remind them that the rules were their idea. Have periodic check-ins, probably very frequent at first, where they self-monitor their progress.

    This is just one idea. I would also talk to their core content tachers to find out what is working in their classrooms. Our district is very big into enlisting parent help by regular calls home. Let us know how it goes!


    • #3
      Thank you!


      • #4

        I would love to hear how this worked out for you. Did you have a class meeting?

        I hear teachers complain constantly that they have difficulty getting the attention of an entire classroom. I wonder if the wrok of Gabor Mate and Gordon Neufeld would help you in the area of peer orientation? Their book Hold On To Your Kids describes the concept of peer attachment vs. natural hierarchical parent attachment and its impact on teachability.

        If you have time, please share some of what worked or what didn't go as you hoped.