You will have to learn what motivates your students. Students with handicaps are motivated differently at times.
If you meet their needs, they will meet yours. Have realistic expectations and let your self fail a few times at first so you can learn what makes them tick.
Concentrate on the group dynamic the first week and then zero in on the students that are not following along.
Have A LOT of patience. Let the kids know who the boss is. Be strict with them don't let them get control.Set rules for them that must be followed.Be careful that you don't step on the teachers toes though. It is her room and she is the one who should know how to run a classroom.Good Luck to you.Like the person above me said they will give you exactly what you expect of them. Expect the best from them and you will get it.
Ask to sit down with your teacher to work on a plan for your activities and a schedule of events. This will help when you feel overwhelmed. Ask if there is a plan for discipline. The disciplinary aspects of the classroom are the teacher's responsibility. Unfortunately kids are very aware of the power structure in the classroom and may exploit it if you try to discipline them without working within the teacher's plan.
That being said, you can work hard on your relationships with the kids. You should maintain a professional attitude, do not respond in kind to any rude comments and be helpful when kids need you. Do not let them split up your relationship with the teacher. Always refer back to her rules.
Finally, when kids are being verbally nasty, just tell them what you want them to do in a calm voice. Remember, every rude comment is meant to lure you into being part of a distracting drama. It gives them all kinds of excuses for arguing and not following your directions. Any time you raise your voice or show anger, they have won that round.
A for instance. Two students are talking instead of working. Walk up close to them and quietly say, "Do you need help?" (Never, ever do this from across the room!) If they say, "No," then say, "Please get to work, it is work time." You have now said everything they need to know. Just keep repeating the same information and move close to them and say nothing more after 4 repetitions. Just point to their papers and move closer. Usually they will get tired of this whole thing, they have not created a drama and they will go to work.
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