If I had to describe this school year so far, being 7 1/2 weeks in, I would say frustrating. I am feeling overwhelmingly, and increasingly frustrated.
Let me preface the rest of this post by saying, I have some great students this year: wonderful, intuitive, funny, caring, polite and pleasantly memorable.
Now... the down and dirty. Overall, I am shocked at this group's inability to do ANYTHING independently. They ask everything about everything: what day is it (even though it is written on the front and side board), what do I need for class (again, written on the board outside my door and on the big board inside), what numbers do we need to do (when I have said it and it is written on both boards). they come to class CONSISTENTLY without materials, at least 3 students per hour lacking a writing utensil. A large number are absent frequently, suspended, sick, or just gone. They do not do homework, they do not seem motivated by grades. Parent phone calls produce little impact.
It is the 8th week of school and I am tired and frustrated and running out of ideas.
I have tried a variety of lesson strategies. I took them outside one day to collect some data in a simple experiement. We went over expectations, directions, etc before we went outside. STill, out there, they didn't know what to do, even the students who had repeated instructions to me! Several spent their time laying on the ground moaning about how difficult the assignment was.
I have done online simulations, but they are unable, unwilling to follow logical steps, steps of projects I have used in the past with great success.
I have assigned plain old read the chapter, and complete the vocab worksheets out of the social studies book, but even these are "too difficult" for them.
CLass discussions erupt into farts, obnoxious comments, off-task comments.
I feel like a first year teacher, instead of a 14 year veteran. Classrooom management has always been one of those things that came naturally for me, and this group has tried my very inner core of patience.
I have tried bribery - resorting to candy for those who do complete work. Does it help? not at all.. not even temporarily... the ones who get the reward give it to those who didnt earn it despite my pleas not to. The wrappers are all in the hall between classes.
I have sleepers, I have tardies, I have a whole huge range of "I don't care and you can't make me" types this year!!
I find myself longing for the last year's group...... or even the year before that..... I just want to be able to TEACH and have them LEARN!!
**SIGH** someone tell me it will get better, or at the very least, NOT WORSE??????