Thursday, September 13, 2007

use it or lose it

How do I describe today? "Completely fucking crazy" doesn't seem to it justice. The kids were just out of control today. "The kids" meaning the 6th grade. The rest of the school seemed to be going along as normal. All three of my classes spent more time getting reprimanded or something by either myself, the para, the disciplinarian/interventionist, or the principal than they spent doing anything else. Something happened in another teacher's class which I believe involved punching the teacher. In my first period class, I had one of the school's master teacher's in my room doing an observation and something one of my students did really didn't go over well with her. Not sure exactly what happened. Three adults in the room at one time and the kids acted like animals. For my second period class, the interventionist came in and took over for the first half hour or so because of something that happened with another teacher. He's charismatic enough that the students were all dying to participate while he went over the bell work. They've never ever done that for me. It took a long time and he ripped into them about it and they sat in awe. I don't get it. For my third period class, when the came back from the lunch the principal came into the room and started laying the smack down on account of all the crazy behavior from the day. Snippets form the principal's aforementioned smack down included a hint that one teacher had threatened to quit as well as, and I paraphrase, "We work hard for you, we work everyday for you, we have conferences all the time to try and solve the problems with the 6th grade, and we have cried more than a few times for and one account of you, but you don't seem to get it how your behavior hurts you and everyone around you who's here to learn."

He said it better. Basically he told them to use it or lose it. If they want to act like animals, then move over and make room for kids on the waiting list who want to get an education. I don't suppose his threats are legal but I can at least hope it scared some sense into at least a few of my students.

Constantly working, worrying, planning, getting frustrated and trying to figure out new and better ways to do right by the kids and the kids don't see that it matters whether or not they get an education. Not all the kids. No, but it breaks my heart to see the handful of students I have who really want to learn and do better and succeed. Because they are being sabotaged by a bunch of punks who haven't got their priorities straight yet. I flat out told my last class that half of my students are failing math and why? Because they don't do their homework, because they goof off in class. Not because they're stupid and not because they can't do it. They are failing because they don't care. And I know how that goes because I almost failed math in middle school for the same reasons. Less extreme, but the same mindset. It only gets harder to catch up the longer you wait to get your act together. So if you're behind you have to start working now. Get it together now. It doesn't get any better by waiting - it only gets more and more difficult.

In short: sit down, pay attention, and get to work while there's still time to salvage your brains.

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