Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A new week.
A positive attitude.
A determination to see the good in all students.

I started my day, my week like that....

First I had to tackle the note left by my sub from last week outlining the behaviors exhibited by my best and brightest, and the rest....

Some were good. Some were "horrible". Some made her life a nightmare for the day.

In their defense, she messed up their assignments which led to some frustration on their part. Still, throwing paper, writing notes, using cell phones, being rude & disrespectful, etc... NOT acceptable, regardless.

Tackle them one by one. Listen to their side of the story. Try to emphasize my expectations for them meeting my expectations whether I am here or not. Move on.. today is a new day. PERIOD.

Student #1 - Sleeping. Wake her up and talk to her. She doesn't know why she is tired. She got 4 hours of sleep last night! I tried talking to her about how important sleep is, how you can't learn without sleep, etc... but she insisted she has to Skype and SnapChat her boyfriend at night because that's the only time she gets to talk to him.

Student #2 - Reviewing for math quiz - This student has missed 15 days of math class so far this semester(She also missed 15 days first semester, but we still have 7 weeks of school to go this semester.....). She is perpetually behind. The review was for her more than anyone else. While I was reviewing, she doodled and wrote a note. When I tried to draw her in, she argued that she didn't have to take quiz because she has been gone so she doesn't need to listen to review. In theory, she is 'sort of' right. Students get 2 days for every day they are absent to make up work. At this rate, she will be making up her 7th grade work when she is in 9th grade.

Student #3 - Nice girl. Very low IQ - in the 50's. Completely mainstreamed. Overwhelmed with our recent launch into geometry and formulas. Too abstract for her mind to grasp the concepts. She is trying but no matter how much effort she or I put into this process, it is simply too difficult for her. (Not to self, find alternate assignment for tomorrow for her.)

Student #4 & 5 - Arguing loudly with each other before class over some non-issue. I tell them to chill out, trying to lighten the moment. She gets huffy and leaves, to sit in office and sleep for hour. He stays, settles in and works for the hour, but refuses to get a calculator so is constantly behind. He tries to do math in his head but doesn't know his multiplication facts so this task is impossible. I finally go get a calculator FOR him.

Student #6 - She is drawing an elaborate picture during math class. Swirlies, hearts, etc... all around her boyfriend's name. I try to reign her in. She just dreamily smiles and almost laughs as she continues her doodles. Then in the middle of my demonstration of finding circumferences, she loudly asks to borrow colored pencils to finish her doodles.

Student #7 - Cell phone out, under table, SnapChatting with a friend in another class. Ask her to put away. She argues, saying she was ONLY turning it off. Give her a break. 5 minutes later, back in her hand. Take phone. She announces she hates school and me.

Call home on #7 to discuss cell phone issue. Mom says it is impossible because phone is taken away from daughter. She is not allowed to use it, much less bring it to school. Describe phone. Yep, it is hers. hmmm....

Call home on #1 to discuss sleeping. Mom says she knows daughter is up all night, but doesn't know what to do about it. hmmm....

Call home on #2 to discuss attendance. All numbers disconnected.

Call home on #6 - no answer on any of the numbers I have.


It was just another day.
We'll try again tomorrow. Again.


Lindsey said...

I know how you're feeling. I'm teaching 6th 7th and 8th in one day and the emotions and behaviors swing wildly. I used to teach in an elementary school and sometimes it just seems like they revert back to K-2 behavior when they get up into middle school. I've got some very similar behaviors to the ones you describe going on and some of that I know (particularly with 8th grade) is them being "done" with the year. They're "high school" students already in their minds. This morning I completely changed who they were going to do an upcoming project because I knew at this point in the year if they were going to do it as I originally planned, I'd get whining, eyes rolling, etc. I'm glad I'm changing it up in some ways but it's tough stuff each day...

cossondra said...

Thanks Lindsey. It's comforting to know it isn't just me :)

Anonymous said...

I teach 8th grade special ed students math and science. I have had such a horrific year between being assaulted twice and constantly being verbally harassed by 15 and yes 16 year old middle schoolers. I may have 1-2 days a week that I feel we get thru 85% of the lesson without any blow-outs. I have gone to admin so many times asking for help and they are out of options. They have no idea how to help me except for the temporary fix of removal and suspension. They come back and it starts all over again. I knew middle school was hard I have been here for 5 years but this makes me feel like I have been teaching for 25 years. I just started reading your blog, its helpful to hear that all these feelings are natural and real. I question everyday if I am cut out for this? Did I make a mistake in going into teaching? Thank you for sharing and I will continue to follow your blogs. Good luck with the end of the year!

P.S. Does it bother anyone else when someone (not a teacher) says "Hang in there, there's only 2 months left?" ahhhh... hands down the hardest 2 months of the year with very little patience left plus heat!

cossondra said...

Anonymous.. I am sorry you are having such a tough year. I am frightened by the thought that this is the direction public school is headed. The "temporary fix of removal and suspension" seems to have become the go to solution when in fact, this seems to do little/nothing to curb the behaviors. Our goal with these students is to teach them to become productive members of society, and the way things are now, all we are doing is sticking bandaids on gaping wounds.
Welcome to my blog and I look forward to more of your thoughts and comments!