Tag Archives: behavior

Feeling a little guilty

In some of my past posts, I have mentioned what a good time my co-teacher and I have been having with this year’s 5th grade CCD class (Catholic religion classes for kids who don’t go to the parish school.) Now I’m feeling guilty.

I know there are plenty of kids out there with Asperbergers, autism, out-of-control ADHD, serious family problems and other issues that may make them behavior problems during our short hour together on Wednesday nights. They need love and religious education too. I’m just glad for maybe only the second class in nine years, I don’t have to deal with a whole bunch of them.  I’m feeling guilty because we actually have it pretty easy this year, and my co-teacher and I are enjoying it.

Our class this year is small, only 13 students. Typically our class sizes are closer to 20-25. And for the most part, this is a nice, well-behaved group. I have only one male student who seems to have difficulty sitting at his desk without falling out. As a group, they are not perfect, but they are good natured and manageable.

The best part for both them and us is it allows Mrs. R (co-teacher) and I to do different, and more interesting things when we don’t have to worry about pulling kids off of the light fixtures.

For example, this week we had them break into groups of two or three and brainstorm ways they can continue to serve God and their neighbors after they leave Mass.  With some classes, even doing that much was a recipe for chaos. However, this class handled it. When we asked them what they had come up with, the first group said they wanted to act it out with charades.  Mrs. R was not in favor, but I thought it was worth a shot. As it turned out, every one of our groups acted out their “charade” very well. We ended up going around the class three times. It was a little rowdy, but nothing totally out of control.

The students enjoyed it. Since they actually had to engage in the activity, maybe some of what we did may actually stick with them. One can always hope.

And a week later…

What a difference a week makes.

Last week, I wrote about how disappointed and discouraged I was with the chronically bad behavior of the 5th graders in my CCD class. Well, the word got out and it had a positive effect.

I maintain a second blog that is directly primarily at the parents of the students in my class. I update it weekly with an account of that week’s lesson, announcements, etc. Last week, I posted my “discouragement rant” on that blog also in the hope that some parents might actually read it and follow up with their child. The director of our CCD program took it a step further. She printed it out; made copies; and sent it home to all the parents in my class, along with a note from her.

I heard from a few of the parents, but, apparently, even those who did not contact me had conversations with their children.

Last night, the students were well mannered and engaged. I also had the services of my assistant teacher, aka “the enforcer,” to help keep the little darlin’s in line.

We have just a few weeks left in the year. Hopefully, we can maintain the momentum.

Back to class

We kicked off the 2010-11 CCD season last night. I have a large class of 5th graders, 21 of the little darlin’s. It looks like I’ll be teaching solo this year.

Oh my, if last night was any indication, this group has a large number whose ritalin wore off at 3 o’clock and then spent the rest of the afternoon chugging espresso. Too many of them have difficulty sitting relatively still and not chatting with the child in the next seat. Attention span for some – about 10 seconds. Next week should be interesting. I’m going to have to sit on them pretty hard to get and keep them under control. It is a lot easier to start off as the hard-guy and then ease up once we reach an understanding. It is very difficult to start soft and then try to get tough.

I met many of the parents last night. In our new system of dismissal, the parents will be coming to the classroom to pick up their kids, rather than us taking the kids to the parking lot. This will give me a chance to have a quiet word with the parents of any chronic miscreants.

Typically, after a few weeks, the class gets to know me and vice versa, and we settle into an understanding. It’s just the first couple of weeks can be tough.

I understand the children’s issue. Going to their regular school is their full-time job. CCD on Wednesday nights is “overtime.” And we are seriously cutting into the time they would much more like to spend laying in front of the TV, playing on their X-box or whatever. That’s life.

I’ll let you know how it goes.