Tuesday, August 12, 2008

yay for good teacher days!

The first two days of school are making me feel a little spoiled. Even with half days I am exhausted but - so far - I'm not terribly stressed. I am still looking forward to that familiarity with my students but I know that isn't something that you can affect or force. Something that I didn't have this time with my previous class was my "stern" - that authoritarian teacherness that can really only develop with lots and lots of practice. But I'm feeling much better about that this time around. A good verbal warning seems to be more effective than with my old bunch and getting the kids to follow directions is eerily smooth (not perfect, but pretty damn good).

Many good signs today. My homeroom class is (mostly) super attentive so far. Even with two of my old students who are easily distractable, I am confident that I will be able to move much more quickly this year. I'm also confident that I've started off on a much more solid foot than before. When my second class started to get a little rowdy at the end of the day, I could get them back relatively quickly. "If you can hear me, raise your hand and close your mouths." And then I raise my hand and wait. No raised voice, no snapping. The kids just...raised their hands and closed their mouths. It's a responsiveness that I'm not used to at all!

One student, D, is a repeat in my class and I have written about him in the past. He is one of the special education students, notorious throughout the school for his disruptive behavior. His home situation is one of the worst and he is far too old to be in 6th grade. But he loves playing the drums and he wants to be promoted desperately, so he has been a whole new person these two days with me. Yesterday, D was initially upset about being assigned to my class and pouted in his seat. But he was not disruptive and began to follow directions more readily as the day went on. I couldn't be more proud! I've been enlisting him (trusting him) with running office errands and helping around the classroom and he hasn't disappointed. I was momentarily afraid that letting him out in the hall might mean he'd vanish from class but he just did what I asked and came right back. So today when he did not want to eat lunch with the other students, I was more than happy to let him stand aside with me and feel a little special. Praise, praise, praise, praise, praise. I want so much for things to turn around for D, for him to get his education, play the drums, stay out of trouble (out of jail), and have a life.

Seeing a struggling kid turn around is so much more satisfying than having model students. Although, I can't complain about model students either.

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