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Hey y'all. So, I need some help. I don't think teaching is for me LOL, but my 6th graders at my main school are unmotivated/quiet, which is expected since I've been here for almost three years.  Most of the time, when I talk to the class or show something that they're interested in, they'll start to participate even if it's just a little bit. It's really difficult just to get through one class. Idk what else to do.

BUT I have two students in one class that just ruins the class for everyone. They're constantly going to the bathroom during class and always talking. Taking away games or activities don't do it for them because they don't even want to play in the first place. Having them write sentences doesn't help because in the end, they just won't do it. During projects or activities I'll hear one as the other "Are you going to do it?" "No." "I'm not going to do it either." and they literally just sit and bother other students.

 My coteacher has no clue what to do to help and honestly, I've given up on those two. The rest of the class is just quiet AF.
They just won't talk. Literally only like 3 students talk in that class and I'm just like.. Why?

I've tried individual stamps (which only like 6 or 7 students that participate consistently get), I've tried to have them be part of the lesson (getting them to hold up vocab cards or handing out paper), I've tried incorporating what they like into activities and games (doesn't work either). I'm stressing myself out from this which I know I shouldn't. I don't know if I should go into the class just ignoring them from now on or what. Please help ㅠㅠ

Oh I've been there. 6th grade boys that talk constantly, come into class late, come to class on time but don't bring their book/pencil so they have to go back to homeroom, ask to go to the bathroom... I realized that the disruptive 1 or 2 kids in each 6th grade class didn't really care about punishments/rewards in my classroom because it was such a tiny amount of time out of their whole day/week, and the thing they really REALLY care about is that 10 minutes they have to run freely around between classes. So I started taking away their break time outside of my class lol. I used a corner of the board to put names/groups (my kids sat in groups of 4/5) and would add any minutes of my class I felt they wasted under their name, and they have to stay after the bell rings for that many minutes. No playing, no talking, just sitting.

Don't bring your book to class and have to go back to homeroom for it? Timer starts on my phone. However long it takes them to get their book and come back is how long they get to sit in my class in silence after the bell.

Talking during lesson? I just add that punishment by the minute. Not writing? Then you aren't leaving my class till its done.

If other kids are engaging with the problem kids and also talking during lesson I'll keep whole groups of them. Helps the good ones police the others well because they don't want to get lumped in with the trouble makers and have their time wasted.

I know everyone loooooooves to say that if you have a good enough reward system you don't need a punishment system, but there are kids who just straight up do not care about rewards......

  • ldnpduma
  • Newgookin

    • 1

    • September 12, 2018, 08:14:01 am
    • Incheon
Been there  :sad: with a co- teacher who is literally the worst. By that I mean she is disorganized and so bad at discipline when I'd have the class in check in the previous year. The year after when she was my co teacher they would be ill- disciplined again, and whenever I tried to discipline she would stop me, I wasn't allowed to raise my voice or punish them at all. and I had 2 6th grade classes that were hell. It was draining.

Advice ( how i dealt with it)

1. Care less, way less. your mantra is 'I get paid either way, I get paid either way."
2. Ignore them,give them zero attention.  I used to literally lower my voice and not shout above them and just go through my work. it was a bit shocking to them when they realized I didn't care. One particularly 'bad ass' kid tore pages from his textbook very loudly as I was teaching and I ignored it and I could see he was literally trying to catch my eye. I gave him nothing. The stunts subsided.
3. Give attention to the kids who are actually doing well. Point it out. Be impressed with it. No matter how small it is eventually the good actions get bigger.
4. In an effort to care less give out worksheets and have zero games. ( cross words, word searchs, find the code, unscramble the words, books treasure hunt, fill in the blank etc) worksheet worksheet, worksheet. that way you use less energy. but tell them whoever finishes can come to you for a stamp so you get to atleast check. worksheets made them a little more quiet in my case.

  • ak1700
  • Veteran

    • 83

    • February 27, 2017, 07:47:20 am
    • Ulsan, South Korea
I taught elementary for 4 years and had a few students/classes similar to yours. I definitely second the above post on taking away free time. If you can get your co teacher/homeroom teacher on board this method is fairly effective.
I've also used a system where the problem students have to take a document to their homeroom teacher explaining the problem. The homeroom teacher signs it and the student has to give it back to me. If the problem continues, I tell them I will send a note to their parents (side note; it never went that far; the kids were very much horrified by the thought). This does require the cooperation of your co teacher and other homeroom teachers though, so it won't work for everybody.
Good luck!

  • meghan493
  • Explorer

    • 9

    • October 02, 2019, 09:03:30 am
    • Jinju, South Korea
I've had this problem as well, unfortunately. I've recently decided to set up a large-scale, school wide student English market. Used about 200,000 won of the school's English budget to buy various prizes for the students to "buy" with points they can earn by behaving well and actively participating in my English classes. I keep track of points with I don't know if your school has the budget for it, but it's honestly been a major game changer. I still have some misbehaving students in a few classes, but as more time passes and more and more well behaved kids purchase fun prizes with their points, the trouble students are slowly deciding they don't want to be left out.

I teach two small schools and use this system for both, but I guess for a bigger school, you could make a "class market" for each trouble class...? You can also purchase much fewer prizes if your budget is low. Just make sure what you get is good!!!

  • pkjh
  • The Legend

    • 2312

    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
    • Asia
My approach may not the best, but I just kick them out into the hallway. Some schools claim they don't allow it, but I just keep on doing it until either the kid, ct, or homeroom teacher, gets the message and deals with the kid. No point wasting energy when there are like 29 other kids that are well behaved, and it's only 1 kid that's an issue.

I taught elementary for only 3 years, and I found it was random 5th, or 6th, graders that caused the most problems.