February 24, 2008

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished


I never had any context to that phrase before but suddenly I get it.

I saw in our Friday School (homeschool) co-op that there weren’t very many offerings for the 6-8 age group and like any newbie to a pre-existing group, I wanted to jump right in and show my usefulness. I picked a simple topic (how to tell time and how to recognize money) and decided to teach 11 of the sweet little monkeys everything I knew.

Out of the kindness of my heart!

After my first day teaching I realized that I had signed up for way more than I bargained for as well as provided a new opportunity for those “in the know” to have a good chuckle.

What I really signed up for was one full hour of yelling at the top of my lungs to be heard, constant discipline (standing in the corner, head down on the table…), a boy who looked me in the eyes and told me NO, and a new knowledge of what my own personal Hell could look like.

And there are 8 more weeks to go.

Anyone have any good tricks up their sleeve so I don’t gain 20 lbs self medicating with chocolate?


jewlsntexas said...

Ha ha ha -
Oh I mean sorry Gayle.
I will appreciate my well behaved, calm class of 6th & 7th graders for literature today so much more after this!
Sure blows a hole in those myths that homeschooled kids are perfect!

Gayle said...

Dern...do the parents realize that their precious little bundles are acting this way? 6-8 year olds ought to have better self control than that, huh?
If it were my kid causing that much distraction, he/she would be in HUGE trouble if I knew about it.
Hope that it gets better for you, girl!

Ronnica said...

I teach Sunday School to kindergarteners and I find a lot of our discipline issues are with homeschoolers (which are over half the class). Don't get me wrong, I would love to homeschool my kids one day, so I'm not putting down homeschoolers. Besides, all the kids have various discipline issues since they have that whole sinful heart thing in common. It's just that homeschoolers haven't yet been taught how to act in a classroom. At home when they are learning, they can have a discussion and ask questions without raising their hand, get up and get what they need without asking, etc., but that's not okay in the classroom. I realized that I had to spend time teaching them classroom skills before I ever get around to teaching them the good stuff. That way when the get in trouble, they know they did something wrong, and it's much easier to address their behavior and their heart.

Anonymous said...

I have some experience with this age group and what I have found works best is a reward chart with a prize at the end. For each day that they receive a star for good behavior give them a pixie stick or something cheap. Then have a larger (cheap, from dollar store) prize for the last week. Also when teaching I would reward them with a special story time at the end of class for a really great day. Hope this helps!!
Heather Kay

Emily said...

I think I should just call ya.

randi said...

Teaching co-op is a whole lot of crowd control, for sure! Hopefully your next week is better. Hang in there! ;)

Michelle said...

::snicker::: I too have experienced this age group and I would go with a bribe. Nothing huge..something like pencils, stickers, or some sort of candy. I'd be sure to only give those that deserve it. Good luck!!

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

Um... tell them to KNOCK it off and tell their parents they aren't welcome back if they can't behave?

Or lots of chocolate.

Happyhome said...

Are these kids use to being in a classroom setting? Is this their first time in a group class at the co-op? Are there pre-established rules from the co-op?

Why not ask the moms of the poorest behaved kids to act as classroom helpers?

Also, maybe spend some time at the beginning of the next class telling them exactly what you expect of them, as well as what the consequences will be for those that choose differently.

Sounds like they need some more training and you need large amounts of chocolate.

SmallWorld said...

I have 14 in a class at my co-op, and here are some things that work well:
* variety is good. Plan on no more than 10 minutes per activity
* make sure you have another parent helping out
* separate your troublemakers (my son is one of them)
* ask lots of questions. Tell silly stories that get them involved
* serve a small snack
* always do a small game that involves movement (for time, "put your right hand at 9 o'clock and your left at the 6, etc")
* keep books short
* don't expect a lot of writing, etc.

Hope that helps some!

SmallWorld said...

Oh--one more thing--if one child is really badly behaved, after a warning, tell them they have to sit in the hall for 3 minutes. This seems to work really well. Make sure the mom knows this is going to happen. Some moms get cranky that their little angels are "all alone" in the big bad hallway. And don't hesitate to ask the moms of the rowdiest ones to stay. I've certainly had to stay with my youngest, and I very much appreciated the teacher telling me that he was a handful rather than talking about him behind my back!

Leanne said...

Homeschooling is NOT the reason why those kids are acting like animals, it's a lack of discipline, plain and simple, and it happens to public school kids too as well as homeschoolers whose moms and dads couldn't care less how they behave!

I say that you talk to the boss of this co op and tell them what's going on.

I wouldn't blame you if you ran screaming from the building, straight to Baskin Robbins for a triple scoop of Death By Chocolate!

Yeah, you just hit the reason why we don't do co op right on the head!!


Kathy in WA said...

Dh has that lovely little expression inscribed on a plaque he keeps in the bedroom. Sigh.

No Good Deed Ever Goes Unpunished (I think his version has the word EVER in there). What a terrible philosophy! I hate it when he brings it up. Of course, it seems to be true often enough.

Bring a friend a mocha, she's on a diet or already had one.

Pick up groceries for a neighbor, get the wrong thing, spend too much or forget the really crucial item. Friend is now mad at you.

Make dh lunch, watch it spill in his laptop bag and ruin a presentation. Nice lunch, dear.

And so on!

Good luck with the co-op class. My SMALL group (6) of older kids are doing amazing in my presentation (powerpoint) class are doing great! I have a hard time with the 1st through 3rd graders. Yikes!!

Anonymous said...

Structure, structure, structure and keep it moving! Plan in time for games and start with one right away. Be prepared to direct the energy-- games, learning in physical ways (jump my cents to a dollar), putting on a play. Ask the trouble makers to be the helpers, have them near you, re-arrange the kids if they are horsing around with each other ("Joe, I need your help, can you come here next to me?") Lower standards, also ;-)

I teach Sunday School, I have seen it all (and in our case, our kids are the only homeschooled ones), so even with kids that theoretically understood classroom behavior, it seems to be way more fun to forget that knowledge in order to whoop it up with your pals. I am not convinced that 6-8 yo really do have "that" much self-control when the alternative is one, crazy making rumpus!

PS-It does make you wonder whether group learning is such a high quality learning experience, though, doesn't it?

Halfmoon Girl said...

There are some good suggestions here. I DO think that homeschoolers at this age are not as experienced at classroom behaviour. That is not a bad thing, but they too need to learn about waiting turns, putting up hands, etc. I would post some simple classroom rules and go over it with them, focusing on rewards for good behaviour and participation ( a stick of licorice at the end as they leave or something). I know from teaching Sunday School, that there does come a time when parents need to be talked to or asked to be classroom helpers. (Our 8 year old has been goofy in Sunday School too much in the past when he sits with his cousins, and I appreciated it when the teachers talked to me and let me know instead of passing it off as "cute") You will do great. The first day is always the hardest.

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