In 1st period I have 22, accelerated 7th graders who are getting ready to move into Algebra next year. I had about half of these kids last year in 6th grade. There are a group of 4 girls that I've already had to separate because all they do is gossip and they aren't accomplishing any work. What I do like is that many of them motivate themselves in getting their work done.
In 2nd period there are 21, 7th graders that I will have to move slower with. There are a few trouble makers already, but I moved them away from each other so the behavior is diluted.
Third period is yearbook....a breeeeeezzzzzeeeeee. There are 12 kids and only 10 computers right now so we are working on sharing. I have yearbook four days a week and on Friday I have 17 students for Advisory. We work on organizational skills, getting along with others, study habits, researching careers, budgeting, money issues and any other life skill type things they may need. These are also the kids I do student led parent conferences with. What I don't like is that about half of these kids I don't have in any other classes, so I don't have a relationship with them. Since all the teachers have advisory at the same time, I don't understand why we can't be assigned students that we already have. The only answer I got when I questioned this was, "It's not possible."
Then in 4th period I have 20, 8th graders. These are my toughest crew. About a third of them I had last year in 7th grade , which is helpful. Four are high academically, ten are in the middle (5th -7th grade skills) and the remaining six are very low. Of the five low kids, one girl only speaks Spanish (...at least I have 2 kids that can translate for me), DA is a gang banger and wears clothes three sizes too big, SL is always causing disruptions (being rude, leaving his seat, etc...), and the other two, although not a behavior problem, have 3rd grade skills. How can I be expected to teach these kids pre-algebra when they don't even know how to multiply?
It's always amazing to me how kids can come to middle school and not know how to multiply or divide. Please parents, help your children memorize their multiplication facts and learn how to multiply large numbers and do long division.
I can not do my job alone. I need your help! You should be able to go to your school district's website and download the standards that the students will be learning, as a guide to what you can be reviewing with them. Don't leave all in the hands of the teachers.