As individuals, with some notable exceptions, I like every one of my 180-or-so students this year. But en masse, they make me freakin' crazy! They assume that any time there are not actual words coming from my mouth, they have permission to talk. I then spend 3 minutes getting everyone back on task, only to be interrupted by a request to sign something, a phone call, or a p.a. announcement. Actual time spent teaching is probably 3% of the class period.
I don't blame the kids, exactly. I know that there are several things I could do, classroom management and curriculum-wise, that would make things run better. It's a matter of time and energy needed to plan and implement changes, and both are in short supply. The result is frustration for me, time wasted in class, and kids who are being short-changed. Honestly, I love my job... there are kids I am reaching, who are getting something out of the time they spend with me, but I really feel ineffective overall.
What do you do? What works?