I am waiting for silence...and waiting...and waiting...and waiting
I was at my nice school today, my super class were super as usual, whizzing their way through clothes and colours and LISTENING. But my other two classes (one CE1 and one CM2 so the youngest and the oldest) just would not be quiet and pay attention.
In CE1 there is just a constant background noise...the children are either completely switched off/phased out, not paying attention (I had to tell one girl to turn round and pay attention about 20 times today!) or constantly chatting, waving their hands in the air, moaning at each other. It didn't help that even though I was already taking the whole class of almost thirty (with only a supply teacher for support) they decided that another 7 are going to join us from the other CE1 class too...actually these 7 kids were absolute stars and outshone the others at stuff I've been teaching them for 2 lessons but it's just too many for language learning and there's a stupid supporting post thing in the middle of the room which means I can never see all the kids at once. I'm not even trying any group/pair work with this class or games really...even just me asking one child to repeat a phrase back to make is taken as an excuse for the rest of the class to have a chat. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong...JP really did emphasise that if a class doesn't go well it's our fault, unprepared etc. And I'm sure these 6/7/8 year old kids should be excited by learning English and should shut up when I tell them I wasn't happy with their behaivour last lesson and I hope its going to be better this lesson.
Maybe I'm expecting too much?
Maybe I SHOULD be doing more games etc with them...maybe they are just bored of doing the same thing...but they still havent mastered How are you?'What's your name, so it's difficult to come up with games, and I've got a feeling they're going to learn even less then, and I'll completely loose control.
I'm pretty sure that I at least know what the problem is with the older students and thats that they are used to lessons where they sit and write/copy/learn/are tested...so for them a lesson which starts with singing a song and where there are times where I want them to all call out together (repeating words etc) is just an excuse for fun times. But I don't know what to do about this; a teacher yesterday told me there should be more writing (and its true that writing does quieten them down a bit), and the class teacher of CM2 today told me to threaten them with constant evaluations...but we've been trained against doing both of these things.
The next problem is that because of the whole discipline thing I am talking French way more than I should be...I don't think English would help? They'd probably just talk over the top of it. I'm using the whole standing in silence thing quite a lot and that does help but only temporarily and today I gave the CM2s a warning at the end of the lesson that I want the next lesson to be a lot better and that I wasn't very happy with them so hopefully that will help.
Ok, ACTION PLAN:
Start the next lesson in saying "everyone"=you all repeat
otherwise you don't talk unless I ask you to or you put your hand up
really stick to absolutely no french after the song. wait in silence every time there is discipline prbs until I have their attention
vary the activites more...introduce new stuff
Might also ask to sit in on some other classes to see their behaivour. As I said maybe I'm expecting too much, had just forgotten how much time is spent on 'be quiet' in primary schools...and it's difficult not really having anything to compare myself too...can talk to other assistants but hard to know really how their lessons compare.
The headmaster at my school is off for another week so have left him a phone message asking if I can do the Wednesday mornings instead of the Fridays so I can go home for Al's birthday/Xmas.
Am quite skint...and have realised that even when I am paid at end of the week, by the time I've paid rent/bought a plane ticket or two it'll all be gone again. :-(
Hate to write a moany entry. I am having a good time here, am a bit tired and feeling bit groggy today but am generally happy and at least its keeping me on my toes...always good to have a challenge.
Any advice appreciated!