Saturday, March 06, 2010

Soooo... it's been tough lately, if you've been reading my recent posts. I am starting to believe the legacy of this group of kids, despite my best intentions not to. I was determined that they were 'just kids' and have treated them as such all year.

A little disclaimer before I go on... of the 63 students I have this year, 50 of them are wonderful, amazing, terrific, fantastic, amazing, incredible, typical 7th graders. They have good days, bad days, and everything in between. They are funny and dumb, smart and ridiculous. They make me laugh, they make me cry, often with the same stunts. Every day with them is like a vacation. I really can't believe I get paid to spend time with them.

The other 13 though.... wow, do they drain my time, energy, creativity and patience. It doesn't seem to matter what we are doing, boring worksheets, fun open ended creative projects, bookwork, computer work, videos, me lecturing, them teaching each other, whatever it might be.... they hate it, simply hate it. They either refuse to do it, period, or they are so disgruntled in the process there is little if any real learning taking place.

I have tried all the tricks in my book, all the things I have used with success on hard-core kids in the past. Somedays, I see a tiny little speck of light at the end of the dark tunnel of oblivion they seem to live in, but most days, it is like I might as well abandon them on a desert island and pick them up in June because nothing I am doing makes a difference one way or the other.

In all my years of teaching, I have never felt so disenchanted, so hopelessly futile in my efforts, and like I am barely treading water holding my head in the crashing waves, gasping for breath.

I keep focusing on the 50.... while trying not to let the other 13 drown on my watch. But somedays it is more than I can handle.


amy said...

What about just sitting these kids in the very back of your room facing the corners and ignoring them? Some teachers at my school do this and they call it "exile island" and tell kids that if they don't care and don't want to learn then they refuse to waste teaching time on them. I've never done it since I teach SPED and it would never work....but just a suggestion! :)

cossondra said...

Amy, I have heard of teachers who do this as well, but I just couldn't, even though it might be tempting, tell kids I have given up on them. I have seen too many other teachers do it over the years. Even when I feel like there is no hope, even when I, in reality, probably HAVE given up on my ability to help that student, I can't let him/her know it. THAT would make me a failure.

cheerit said...

I just read the book "Tools for Teaching" by Fred Jones. In the last few chapters he outlines PAT time. It is for all students but can be specifically tailored to reach your hardest students. I have not tried it but I did teach in the inner city and truly think it could work! "Omission Training" is what he uses on these most difficult students. If it works you can make them "heros" to pull them out of their funks.

I said a prayer for you. Teachers like you have a special place in heaven. Even when you think you are not reaching those 13, you are.

Good luck. Julie