Repost: Advice Needed.........

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Repost: Advice Needed.........
Sun, 03-12-2006 - 8:44am

Where do I start?? Okay let's start positive. 90 percent of my class is wonderful. They follow my rules because they know the meanings behind them and they know I love them. I am back in grad school as of next week and taking ed psych which I loved taking in undergrad also. I have been tutoring after school which is taxing but has allowed me to make extra cash which I desperately need. My birthday is in 3 weeks and I am having a party and going to Vegas the following week. So I am blessed and I understand that!!! Now....

Let's start with the 3 boys in my class who hate reading so much, they still won't tune in. How in the HELL do you get them to try to read? We have the Open Court series which has the sound spelling cards as well as the stories on cd. So, I do all I can to engage them in reading but they won't. I watch them during reading time. They open the book and immediately put their heads down or start looking around. I go up to them and help them put their fingers in the right place but they won't stay on task. I try to read out loud to them, they don't pay attention. I try to get them to "echo" me and they can hardly do it. We hear the stories on cd 3 times and they won't follow along. I ask them to search out their High frequency words and spelling words, they won't do it. One of them is receiving resource services. The other two aren't because the moms want to give them more time to see if they will improve....

It's so sickening cause they will sit there with tears in their eyes when they can't read something but when I am teaching reading, THEY OUT RIGHT REFUSE TO PAY ATTENTION. What can I do to help them?

Next, we have the principal and vice principal who are constantly berating the entire staff for the actions of a few. Some people are still coming in late everyday, but we all have to be TOLD OFF ABOUT IT. Someone sent the principal an email questioning her authority or reasoning and WE ALL HAD TO BE CHECKED ABOUT IT. I know what they are doing, making sure that these behaviors don't spread to the entire staff so everyone gets a blanket warning. However.....

Every meeting is about putting us in our place, telling us what we should and shouldn't do. Telling us that "we are all grown adults and why can't we follow simple instructions"
Um, most of us do, it's only about 3 people tops making these mistakes the rest of us are doing our jobs and well I might add....

Then they override their own policies and don't inform us and then say they don't have to tell us when they do so. Um, yes you do, just make a person aware of what you are doing so we can all be on one accord. I am not a kid, you dont have to pet me all the time and tell me I'm good. I know my strengths and weaknesses. But if I am always being put down over the actions of a few, then at some point I need to do something. My options are speak the truth out loud to them and be prepared to be targeted to lose my job or send anonymous letters to the higher ups and have the administration continue to berate us when the find out someone told what they are doing. They wouldn't know it was me, but they would know it was someone on the staff and that would cause issues for everyone....

I feel the need to do something about this other than run to another school where the problems could be the same if not worse. Yes, I know I could just ignore the problem, but this is how the meetings go, "You all are doing a poor job, now have a good weekend" That's how the last 4 meetings went basically. Telling us all we are doing wrong and then saying have a good weekend. Um, yeah right. Then, they complain that we are not positive. WHAT?? You don't foster a positive environment, so what do you expect. If we taught our kids like that, we would have lost our jobs the FIRST WEEK.....

So, should I ask for a meeting, send an anonymous letter or just keep my mouth shut and find a new position? How do I get these 3 boys who hate to read to at least try??


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Sun, 03-12-2006 - 6:41pm

Where to start??? Well, with your non-readers I'd say that there are definite learning issues that need to be addressed. You said one was receiving services, so I'd talk to all of the parents starting with those not being served, and work on a plan of attack. These kids need to be tested and need a diagnosis ASAP. If they can't read and are crying, that says they know they have problems, but goofing off and not trying is easier than overcoming them by themselves. Tell the parents that if the problems are not addressed now, their self-esteem and motivation will be destroyed and their chances of catching up are getting slimmer and slimmer.



iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Sun, 03-12-2006 - 8:27pm

Thanks Sherry!!

Hmmm, such a dilemna!! See, these people are so immature (yes more immature than me, HA) that even going to them in a humble, friendly tone would put my job in jeopardy. I am not in the "friendship crew" The group of people who are friends with them and can make suggestions and not be targeted....

I can't see how she won't take me talking to her as challenging her authority again. I mean on the serious tip, once when I had taken a day off, she was in my room someone told me and said my "turning my students desks backwards was stupid" I turn the desks around of the students who play "pencil wars" during the lesson....

She also told us, "there was nothing she could do about us not having specials, talk to your specials teachers and tell them to come to work."

Or the time she told the staff who was being "let go" and knew the person was not in the room.

I could go on, but I don't have the space and time. I think something needs to be done but I don't want to cause more trouble...

As far as the non-readers, until their mothers come out of the haze they are in, these boys are not going to get the help. I have already suggested help for them and they said they wanted to wait. Oh well, you'll be waiting forever cause your sons HATE TO READ. It's just so sad, but at this point I guess I have to let it go. It's hard though...

Love ya bunches Sherry. I am just waiting for spring break and Vegas. The only vacation I will have this year so I will enjoy it.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 03-12-2006 - 8:52pm


I have no real advice (remember, I'm a "newbie", but I just wanted to say that I admire you for truly caring for each one of your kids, regardless of anything they give back to you.

I do have several that would prefer to sit in class and do nothing, and even though I'm no expert, the only thing I've found that has ever helped was to be positive with them...even if it means reaching deep.

Keep up the hard work!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 03-12-2006 - 9:56pm

Make those referrals! Then try candy or some other kind of immediate, tangible reward for: putting name on paper, answering one question in each section or other behaviors that you think they can do. You can change the reinforcers as they progress. See what happens at first - and make sure it is not just the boys that get the reward - make it for the class - part of your "program". You will go nuts waiting for all the formalities in getting answers for them, and at the moment everyone seems to be in tatters over this situation. You have a wonderful oportunity here to discover these kids and probably be the first teacher who really helps them. I guarentee that as soon as you have a tool to help you by helping them, you will feel better, and they will feel better. Think about going to work and not getting a paycheck - not fun!

It sounds as though the administration in your building is putting a lot of stress and blame on everyone; a tense situation. Do you feel that pressure in some way while interacting with these students? Like their behavior is a reflection of your teaching? I don't know what to say about your principal. Probably if you could get a handle on the biggest issue in your classroom you would feel more secure about their negative, critical judgements of the staff. Principals do not have easy jobs. And when they have it hard, we have it even harder. "Move around the moment" is what I would say to you about your reluctant readers. Use everything you have to listen and observe what they are saying you will find that the tables turn and you will perceive them as "giving" rather than "taking".

I wouldn't be so sure about not changing buildings. What are you studying in grad school?


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Mon, 03-13-2006 - 9:17am

Hello Pam,

Believe me I have tried it all, rewards, encouragement, you name it. It works for a minute and then they go right back to playing.....

Noone here has an easy job and they are learning their jobs because they are new to their positions. All I want is the constant belittling to stop. If I didn't do it, I shouldn't have to hear about it.

Finally, I am going to grad school for a master's in Adult Ed. It will take two years, but I can't wait cause I can move on.

Thanks for your help!!


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2003
Sun, 03-19-2006 - 9:34am

Have you tried different reading materials to see if it is subject-related?