I usually teach adults or older students but now I find myself teaching 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders ESL in a very expensive private school. One of my students is the school director's daughter!
The problem is that these kids are completely unruly. They are generally disrespectful and do exactly what they want to do when they want!
I have tired:
1)Homework assignment for kids who can not listen and pay attention because they are to busy talking. Students did not do the homework.
2)Time out - out of class room 3-5 minutes. Director said I could not do that.
3) Three strikes you get a test! Warnings on behavior and three strikes I give a pop test (which I have ready daily)
4) Silence on my part until the students "settle down" - gave up as they DON"T settle down.
What can I do that is legal and does not leave scars?
Frustrated in Mexico
What are they like in classes for their other subjects? What support mechanisms are available? Is ESL set apart from the rest of the curriculum or integrated in any way?
Maybe they don't respect you because your Spanish is not good.
Maybe they know they can learn English if and when they cross the border.
It must be very frustrating to someone who is used to teaching people who want to learn.
My suggestion is to find a teacher in the school who has a very well-ordered class and ask for tips. Also, even though this might diminish your status in the school, you could ask another teacher to sit in and diagnose the exact problems you're having, and come up with a remedial plan for you. That might be embarrassing for you, but you'd learn valuable skills for your next placement.
Since I first posted this I have found out that I am the 7th English teacher they have had THIS SCHOOL YEAR!! Test have shown an English comprehesion levels ranging from a high of 70% to a low of 2%. I have started a "special" class for the lowest students (which happen to be most of the "problem") There is only "mouth" support from the school Director. I have had excellent support from one of the teachers. I have spoken to the other teachers and found that they have similar problems with the same students.
My plan is to remain FIRM in dealing with the students. I appreciate all of your kind comments and suggestions. Thanks!!
Mex : would you happen to be teaching at Nuevo Contenente in Celaya??? If so, you have little chance of turning this around. As you stated earlier without more than verbal support from the director and admin not much you can do. I know 3 teachers that have left that school and each one told me exaclty the same scenario you described. GOOD LUCK!!!!!
you have to look up Richard Graham on the internet he teaches efl in japan. I would give you his address but I don't think that it is allowed. if you can implement half of what he can do, you will have kids that love you and your lessons. I have tried some of his lesson ideas and each time I had a great lesson.
good luck and don't give up.
Remember - look closely at who your trouble makers are - you will usually find that they are the lowest scoring students and they act out in order to get attention. Don't fall into the trap of giving them negative attention all the time. Don't be afraid of having a rowdy class. go with it and turn the roudyness into something constructive.