Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving, etc

Okay, so I managed to sleep until 8.30, even though I was up last night until 12.30. My eyes are so tired. I'm going to write a new song; instead of "She's got Bette Davis eyes," my song will be "She's got such tired eyes."

Wednesday went okay. One disruptive boy in Class A was back, and he was in fine form. Distracted the entire class several times; they were actually all quiet and reading like they were supposed to, and he just takes it upon himself to start talking. Loudly. But during the work time, at least three tables stayed on task the entire time. One table wrote five limericks.

Class B had a bunch of interpersonal issues. Someone took someone else's papers or something, and then some boy started exchanging words with several other boys. All of them used profanity, one right in my face. The AP was right outside the door not for that time, but for another one. Other than that, the rest of the class did pretty well with working on limericks.

Class C was fine. We had just one period and I did the first limerick lesson. We didn't get all the way through it, of course. But they sort of seemed to get it.

Last night Ms F took me out with her friends on the island. It was fun, we all had some drinks and talked about teaching. The rest of the group were mostly teachers. In talking to them, they seemed to be great people, with a firm grasp of their classes' behavior.

I'm definitely feeling a little bit more than mild melancholy right now. Because after talking to them, and thinking about how my classes act in my classroom versus what (albeit little) I've seen them do in other classrooms, I have come to the conclusion that I suck. That I really do have very little control and have been altogether too soft.

For all my mom's great advice about greeting them by name and looking them in the eye and stuff, I think that some of the kids really appreciate it. But it's completely inappropriate in a city school. Other teachers do not do things like that, they are really strict and harsh and thus, the kids behave. I'm a stupid soft white girl, of course they don't give a shit when I talk.

God, see, look at me exaggerating. At least half the students in each class are honestly good kids and make a great effort in class. They do listen, they do quiet right up when I give the two-finger signal. It's just the select few that choose to act out and be loud and disrespectful to me or other students. And some of them really truly don't give a shit. At all. About what I do or say.

So here's some things I'm thinking about after advice/ideas from the other teachers I met last night. Give out homework passes as rewards for consistent homework/classwork/behavior. Give the loud ones jobs. One in Class A seems to enjoy going around the room tidying. Then, end the mad chaos that happens at the beginning of class. When they go into math, they are sitting, completely silent and calm. When they come into ELA, they are wild, talkative, standing up and walking around. That must stop. So I'll make them go outside, line up, and come in again until they do it right. The good children will just have to deal with it. All the classes are too noisy at the beginning of class, and it needs to stop.

I had thought I was making some real progress. And sure, I'm not nearly as soft and quiet as the beginning of the year. I do believe my voice is actually getting a bit louder, and I have a great clap. Nice, sharp and loud clapping signals.

Once again, I am vowing to myself to go visit other classrooms. I should do that at least once a day, since I have three free periods. I need to get ideas and see things in action.


Alrighty. So now it's Thanksgiving. I have the entire day free to do nothing. WHEEE!!!! I think I shall start with some DVDs, and then do some reading in bed. I'll call family folks in the afternoon to chat.

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