Saturday, November 03, 2007

i can haz vacation now?

I am just plain tired and that is affecting my teaching. I just need a breather from the kids, the stress, the madness of everyday. This past week at school was the longest ever and I am severely behind in my work on all fronts. This weekend I am trying to catch up but it is slow going just because my brain doesn't work as fast as it needs too and I have to fit in some social time to prevent myself from becoming a horrible hermit crab who hates the world and yells at her kids too much.

Spent the morning oversleeping through derby practice, going to Pho Tau Bay fro breakfast, going to Target with Henry and my derby wife, Diamond, and having bubble tea at Frosty's. It was good for my sanity but not for my deadlines. So I am sitting on the front porch on this most beautiful fall day, making files for my kids and trying to plan out the most important things I must accomplish today before and after a baby shower for a good friend. I have to write a math test that should have been finish days ago, do several assignments for TGNO, do laundry, write some lesson plans, and finish grading papers. That list looks short, but the actual To Do List is about 25 items long. Prioritizing is far too difficult.

Halloween turned my children into sugar-rushed monsters on Wednesday and Thursday. The fact that they turned the AC back on my building, therefore making my classroom absolutely miserably arctic, didn't help matters. I think a couple of my students are going to be expelled soon and that is both a relief but also it makes my heart ache. I am not a fan of some of the tactics of one of our disciplinarians. I don't have a better solution, but I don't think that telling students that you are going to to everything in your power to kick them out is going to accomplish much. It just reinforces the idea that they can't be saved and for some of them, it is far too early in their lives to write them off. Some of my students are being labeled and picked on and it makes me very uncomfortable because they are not even being given a chance to change. Change takes time, especially with behavior. Making them the enemy doesn't make change happen, it just turns them against you. This is something I've been struggling with the last few weeks but don't really know how to address the issue. I am far from perfect but I see that something is wrong.

A vague description, I know. But there's only so much I can say and still protect myself, my students, and my school.

Next week there will be a positive behavior field trip to the skating rink. I am very excited about getting out of the classroom and playing with my kids. Also, I like any excuse to put on roller skates. But I do wish that I had more wiggle room to be more strict about what 'good' behavior is. Some students are sliding by because we can't exclude too many. I think our expectations need to be higher so that the rewards are more meaningful. But that's just me. As the master teacher told me the other morning, if they don't know how to act in a classroom how can we expect them to behave outside the classroom?

My students did prove to me on Wednesday that they know how to behave. The master teacher came in to teach my second period class for a field test and they were amazing! I'd never seen them behave so well. The next day they were back to their old ways. She will be back again this Wednesday to complete the lesson and the students have been told that they are expected to behave the same way no matter who is teaching. In one ear and out the other. I KNOW they know how to behave -- I've seen it. They choose not to behave for me. We'll see whether the joint interventions of myself and the master teacher have any effect in the long term.

There is nothing more frustrating that realizing that your students have no respect for you. This is why when the administrators and the master teachers tell me that I am good at what I do, it feels like an empty compliment. What does is matter if I'm good at instruction if my students have so little respect for me that it doesn't stick?

The principal walked into my classroom on Thursday and I was having a rough day. As soon as he showed up all the students went quiet and started working diligently and the principal was very approving. Maybe I shouldn't have, but I looked straight at him and in front of the class said, "You realize, Mr. G, that they are only behaving this well because you just walked in." And then it was all I could do to walk calmly out of the room and go cry.

1 comment:

Leigh C. said...

I'm so sorry. ((((((hugs))))))