What an up and down week.... Wednesday I was so frustrated with a couple of clowns in my 2nd hour, I lost it and yelled at them all. Most of the group is wonderful, kids who struggle in math, but are trying desperately to "get it" and do well. However, there are also a few in there who are the hard core, trouble makers, including the ringleader who has already been suspended for 3 times this school year (and we are in the 4th week of school).
While the few are trying hard to do anything but math, it makes it tough to help those who do care. I see them dragging along more and more with them each day.
I have gotten 2 new students in there as well, both of whom come with baggage all their own. But Thursday, we had a little chat, I gave a new seating chart which spread out the worst of the crew as far from each other as possible, which seems to help some. Unfortunately, for the worst 2, just being in the same room together seems to be enough to cause grief.
Friday was test day in all my math classes. 2nd hour, general math, took a mid-chapter test. Some did extremely well, others, the point seemed to be get done as soon as possible. Next week is the end of the marking period and 2 students are failing the class. Another is hanging in with a D-. To be fair, one of the failing grades is a new student, but she has made no effort since coming here about a week ago, already being suspended for having stolen cigarettes at school. I probably will mark her card as too new to give a grade.
The one young man with an E is the one who is a chronic suspension, but honestly, even if he were here all the time, I am not sure his grade would dramatically change. He spends so much time bothering others, and so little actually working. I have tried to help him. I have called home. I have offered to help after or before school. I have tried to help him during seminar. But he just doesn't care.
My other 2 math classes are pre-algebra. I was supposed to have one higher group and then a kind of middle ground group, having divided the kids by placement test scores. However, it has been kind of a flipflop between groups. My 4th hour is amazing! One student in there has a C and all the rest are A's and B's with an overall class average of 89%. And.. they are trying desperately as a group to get that up to an A. They are excited about math, they work hard, they are hilarious, they are energetic and a strong reminder of why I love 7th graders.
My last hour pre-algebra group is an odd one. About half the class is the made of the "cool kids" , the popular girls who rule the roost. The remainder is made of an odd assortment of cool kid wanna be's, several who are just great kids, one girl who tries so hard to be a hard core troubled child sometimes but is truly just a sweetheart, a boy a recently referred for special ed testing after trying to work individually with him and discovering he struggles greatly getting the info from his brain to paper. There 5 C's in this group, with an overall average of 86%, which is great, but just seems ironic in light of the initial placement test scores. There are a lot of hard working kids in this group but there are also some who work hard because of pressure at home.
In the last group, there is one girl who is struggling big time. She got a 40% on her test the first time through, but stayed after to rework some problems. I had to leave so she didn't quite get done with the redo, and I didn't have time to sit and work with her but will try to make time Monday. I think she is in over her head even in pre-algebra but I wonder if moving her would be a good idea. The language arts teacher is seeing her struggle as well, and wants to call a parent meeting so I am thinking about my recommendations for her.
I can't believe how quickly the year is flying by. It seems like we just started last week.
MEAP's are coming up and that will blow 4 full days of instruction right out of the water. I can't believe the horrible rotating schedule we will torture kids with in the name of testing. The last day, I will have the same group 4 hours in a row, with no test to give. I would love to do something exciting and innovating, but in my mind, most of those things also involved group work, noisy things, and other classes WILL be testing so we must be quiet. What can I do with 26 7th graders for 4 hours that is engaging, fun, educational, AND quiet?
Teaching has its ups and downs and it seems for every Wednesday where things seemed so bad in my 2nd hour, there is a victory day like Friday where I was so pleased with their tests. I like to see their satisfaction when they hand me the test and you can SEE they KNOW they did well, and are happy with themselves.