About Adrian Layne

Hello! I’m Adrian, a public school educator who teaches students in grades 9-12 in Louisville, Kentucky. I teach in a magnet program for students who are interested in careers in the field of k-12 education. I am in my seventeenth year of teaching and I absolutely love what I do every day. I am originally from Pikeville, a small town nestled in the beautiful mountains of Eastern Kentucky. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and Allied Language Arts and 7-12 teaching certificate from Western Kentucky University. My Master’s degree and Rank I were earned at University of Louisville. I am currently working on a second Master’s degree from Western Kentucky in Library Media Education. In my spare time I enjoy the company of family and friends, the beach, and volunteering with the Lupus Foundation of America. Giving to others and lifelong education are of utmost importance to me.

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Question: I have been teaching for 3 years and recently I was placed (unwillingly) at a new school in a new area of town. Needless to say I hate the kids, the staff and my administrator. The kids keep complaining about my teaching and since I’m used to teaching seniors (now I have 9th graders) I’m lost at what to do. Help!

  Answer: As cliché as it may sound, you must make the best of your situation. I know how it feels to be placed in a school unwillingly. I do not know the reasons why you were transferred, but now that you’re there, do what you know how to do best! The students can sense the fact that you’re unhappy there, and they are using your own unhappiness against you; don’t let them win that battle. Instead go in Monday morning with an attitude that exudes your love of freshmen! Yes, freshmen are another species, but they, too, are trying to find their place in a new school/environment, and your unease isn’t helping them. Here are a few quick tips that I used when I was placed in a middle school, after all of my training was geared toward high school students:
1. Seniors and freshmen do a lot of the same work. You can use the same basic lessons and activities, but for freshmen, you may need to break-up the activity into a few more steps; add more collaborative learning groups and projects. This will also mean less time you are up teaching, and more time they are actively learning.
2. Be honest. Again, your students sense you are unhappy. Share your feelings with your students (within reason—maintain your professionalism). Then, make a pact with your classes that you’ll try your best to adjust to their learning needs, as long as they are honest with you and are patient with you as you learn a new demographic. Consider having a lock box where students place their concerns, and have a “Discussion Day” every so often to discuss what’s going on in your classroom community.
3. Sponsor an extracurricular activity. This will help you find your niche in the school and to learn more about the new area of town, as well as help you form an alliance with some students who will spread the word that you’re “Ok”, which can help you win them over in the classroom. It will also show your colleagues and administrator that you are working hard to become a part of the school community.
4. And lastly, laugh, laugh, laugh. Humor brings everyone together. Find ways you can work in humor into the classroom. If you teach math, find some funny math cartoons to project as students enter the room to begin their warm-up.
Hang in there. Change is hard, but we all know change can be good. Freshmen are people, too, and they simply want to know their teacher cares about them. Take it one class period at a time, and this might just be your best year ever! Good luck, and keep The Educator’s Room updated on your progress!

 

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