Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A day in the life...

Today was an interesting day at work. My days are full of ups and downs, and today was no different.

I talked to my department head, who asked if I would be staying at our school next year. I honestly told him that I'm not sure. He asked me what classes I would like to teach, since he would really like me to stay. He told me that he's been very impressed with my teaching and classroom management, which is very flattering, although I know that I certainly have a long way to go. However, all teachers can always learn and change and grow. If you know any that don't believe this, run, because you are not in the presence of a good teacher!

This interaction made me feel really good, and I have been thinking a lot about what I want to do next year. I get incredibly frustrated with my students lack of motivation, desire to learn, and just the general apathy that surrounds the campus. It's also very frustrating to have to teach to a test, which is a problem most teachers face (I envy electives' teachers).

However, I then had an interaction with a student that has left me stewing all night (off and on. I do my best to leave this stuff at school. I can't seem to drop this, which is partly why I'm posting. The other reason is so that you can get an idea of what it's like to be a public school teacher now-a-days). I have this student who can't stop talking. I'm not sure what is wrong with him, but he does not appear to be able to stop talking. Seriously. I've had a lot of issues with him about this. I've moved him ALL OVER the room. I've talked to him. I've talked to his coach. I'm talking to a parent tomorrow. I've threatened. I've kicked him out. I haven't tried to bribe him, but that's because he's so arrogant that it can be hard to even be nice to him. This is really sad, because when he came to our school (he transferred in a few months ago), he was really nice, polite, and intelligent. He made a thoughtful and worthwhile addition to the classroom, and I was really excited.

I don't know if our campus got to him (really. There's a serious apathy problem here), or if he was just acting, only later revealing his true self. However, he quickly became very arrogant and rude, and the incessant talking began.

Today was an average day. He was talking, but it wasn't too bad (I mean, I do have to deal with him daily. Most of the time it's fine). Now, I ought to point out that HIS voice really gets to me. He has a really deep voice that goes under everyone else's voice, and it distracts me. It's like this deep, rumbling, insect buzz that is incessant. It literally kills my train of thought, and I find myself having to really concentrate on what I am saying in that class. In addition to that, if ONE person talks, another person is listening. And replying. And that leads to another person talking. And another. And another. . . . You get the drift.

Things took a very bad turn, however, when this student informed me that I had "better wrap things up because we only have 10 minutes left." I was flabbergasted. Are you really going to tell ME that I need to wrap things up? And 10 minutes? Well, I can do a whole hell of a lot in 10 minutes, but that's not even the point. Even my other "bad" student was shocked that he said that to me, and that's saying a lot (typical questions from this other student include, "Can I have an Oreo?" and "How do porcupines have sex?").

Well, I just lost it. I started yelling at him for what he said, and demanded that he stop talking till the end of class. Dumb move. Do you think he's going to do it? Oh, heck no! So, he starts talking. Immediately. I tell him to move to the back of the room (I have a lab area where no one sits unless we are doing lab). Does he move? Of course not.

At this point, I called the office and informed them that they had better send someone up to get him before I hurt the boy. Now, I'm a pacifist. But these children can drive me insane!

My AP came and removed him, and I'm not sure what happened after that. Probably not much.

I know I should have handled that better, although I'm not sure how. I think that is why I can't seem to stop dwelling.

I also know that I need a game plan for the next time I see him. Fortunately, that's not until Thursday. I also have a conference scheduled with his mom tomorrow. I don't know what good that will do, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

To wrap up the day, I held tutorials, and more students came than is typical, because I told them that if they are failing, it is mandatory that they attend tutorials (I still didn't have NEAR as many students as I should have. In most of my classes, 1/2 are failing). I was able to talk about evolution in a small group, which was fun for me and I think helped clear things up for the kids. Then, a student asked if I wanted to see this video he had on his phone that they were all laughing about. I watched it, and it was one of those "Ring"-type videos where a little girl rushed the screen. I screamed, and the kids thought it was hilarious.....it really WAS hilarious! I left that tutorial feeling really good, and headed to the park to get some exercise on a gorgeous, sunny, 70 degree day (it was 2 this morning in Chicago, where I nearly moved a few years ago. Brr!).

My days are like a roller coaster, full of ups and downs. When I think of all the students who say "hi" when they see me in the halls or in the morning, when I think of tutorials where I feel like I'm HELPING, when I think of my kids who WANT to learn, I love my job. But then I have students like the one above, and I have AP's who are inconsistent, and I have all these demands that won't teach the kids but might gain us a few more points on a test, and then I hate my job.

If I could only get to a 60-40 love-hate relationship, I think I would be ok. Right now, however, I think I'm at 40-60. That's better than a few months ago, but is it good enough? Only time will tell.

1 comment:

  1. Bella, that student was obviously baiting you. And you fed into it. What would have happened if, when he told you about the 10 minutes, instead of yelling you'd done something else? Something funny and unexpected perhaps? No clue what would be apropriate (thanking him with a sarcastic flourish?). Clearly what you're doing is not working.
    I know this is not PARENTING this is TEACHING but you might get some ideas from http://www.playfulparenting.com/
    I have his book, be happy to lend it to you if you promise to return it eventually, just LMK.
    Hugs for being such a great caring teacher!!