According to counselors and other teachers, I have the "who's who" of misbehaving students in the school. One benefit of this is that a few of them are out each day for In-School Suspension. I have many "alternative program" kids who are known for being tough. Still, many of them are not disciplined as hard as the others because the admins fear they are too close to dropping out.
The majority of the students simply want to sit around and talk for the entire 90 minutes. I have NO idea how to get them quiet. Many of them will ignore me when I announce a new assignment. They ignored me when I moved desks and made a seating chart--some sit on the floor to talk to their buddies, some sit on the a/c or desk, some draw on my chalkboards. Most of them are failing, and they do not care--grades do not motivate them at all. It feels like a true army of 30 against one...and I know that I don't have control. How can I gain control of them??
The curriculum guide states that I must teach them about the history of theatre. I must teach them theatre terminology. I have to show them how to be producers, set designers, and costumers. I have to show them the parts of a play, and then they are to write their own play and perform it. The problem is, they will NOT read along with me. They will not take notes, much less be quiet as I give notes. They didn't even feel like making a crossword puzzle in lieu of a vocabulary test. They didn't want to write a movie review for an Academy-Award winner. I'm really not sure how I can get them to learn!
I've written up a few of them, but there are SO MANY of them, I'm not exactly sure how to hand out that many detentions. I don't want the school thinking that I'm completely inept. To be honest, I have no idea how to teach them...sometimes they will put on the short plays that I give them, and many of them like to act and do the physical exercises we do, but when it comes to getting them to put anything on paper, they'd rather turn around and talk.
Some of them like to talk about how they wish I would dress a little sleazier, so they would "have reason to come to class." (Yeah, that one got written up.)
I teach in a fairly rural part of town, where many of the students believe there is no point in trying anyway. Many of them have parents who do not have a high school education. Oh, we're also located in the meth capital of the USA, though I would surmise that the majority of my students are more into weed.
The profanity in this class takes up a ton of my time, too. I got sick of writing them up for that...so now I just say, "watch your mouth."
I told my principal. She is new to the school, too. She told me to "network, hang in there, and have fun!" ...yeah. So it really is an army of these 30 kids against me. Ok, not 30...I have about 3 or 4 kids who are helpers that really want to learn about theatre in there. They like me enough to stay after school and play DDR and Karaoke Revolution with me on my PS2.
I am exasperated and exhausted. What can you recommend for me? Many are willing to act things out, but how to I get them to learn about the basics of theatre? How can I get them to participate? Are there any fun videos that you can recommend that would get them learning about history, blocking, terms, ANYTHING? Please, oh please help.
x-posted in an act of desperation to everywhere. Sorry if you see this over and over.