Monday, November 08, 2004

I'm not afraid to be the bigger person

There comes a point in dealing with certain kinds of people (and I seem to be having to deal with them pretty regularly, in various settings) where you just have to take a breath and let it go. Be the bigger person. Turn the other cheek, etc. Truly, it builds character.

You know what else builds character? Knowing how to spell. Just sayin'.

Today was a rather shit day. First thing, my AP told me that I had to take my bulletin board down. It doesn't have the four-square method in it, so it's no good. I talked before about how proud I was, of the kids' work, of my own preparedness and organization, etc. I felt really good about the whole thing. Figures that it would come back to bite me in the ass. Anyway, after I found out, I didn't want to just rip it down, because it seems like a blank bulletin board is a lot worse than a bad one. And then I went to talk to Ms F, the teacher center lady and my great helper. She was on my side, and told me not to do anything until she double-checked the situation, and said she can try to help me figure out what to do to put up there on such short notice. Argh. Wish me luck and patience.

Today was the day that all the negative reinforcement, so to speak, started to get to me. I feel like people are constantly telling me things I need to change or do better or do, period. And I don't mean that they shouldn't be telling me those things; I will be the first to tell you that I don't know what I'm doing and totally need ideas and suggestions. But you know, I'm human. I need to hear things that I'm doing correctly, things that I'm making progress on, something positive to keep me motivated. So I actually asked my mentors to tell me those things today.

I had the week all figured out, and I felt pretty good about that. There's something to be said for simply being prepared. As a lifelong procrastinator, it's not a feeling I'm on intimate terms with. I'm working on it, though, obviously. But anyway, perhaps my week won't be going as smoothly as I'd thought. Wednesday I was excited to do a game with them; maybe I'll have to make that the day I redo the bulletin board thing. Or I could do that tomorrow and push tomorrow's lesson to Wednesday.

The lessons today went alright, actually. The context clue thing seemed to go over pretty easily with the students. They had to copy sentences from the board before they could go to work, and that's a nice way to keep them quiet for a bit. Sounds manipulative and unfeeling, but it's true. They've been trained to copy, not to think for themselves. (So it's no wonder they all score so terribly in critical analysis, right?)

With some tweaks from a suggestion by my mom, I introduced classwork points today, in terms with Students A, B, and C. You know, who wants to be here to learn and succeed, who's just here because they have to be, who doesn't give a shit and fails. So I equated that with the amount of work that the students do in class. And I walked around putting C, B, or A on the pages in their notebooks they were working on. I actually didn't put any Cs down, because everyone was there at first. Everyone got a B, and then I looked for those who were doing accountable talk and participating in the group discussion, and they got As. They all wanted As. Some of them were like, I'm normally a B person, but I'm trying to be an A person. It seems like that will be an effective tool, both for classroom management and for easier grading for me.

I met with the QC mentor during a prep today. It was pretty nice, to get things off my chest. It was our first actual conversation, so he asked me background things about the beginning of the year and whether I had materials, a buddy teacher, or any kind of orientation. NOPE! He was all, wow, you've done a great job surviving, then. And he complimented me on my energy, that I was still upbeat about things. (That's an act! Or I just try to be a duck and let things roll off me and keep on truckin'.) He even said I was improving on classroom management, with a modicum of control. Woohoo! I'll take a modicum! That means I may have something to build on and so in February they might shut up and get to work.

Holy shit, it got late! Classes tonight at QC were horribly long; it was interminable. God, it was boring and useless. Mondays are just so stressful all around! So, I'm off to bed. Whew, deep breath, relax. I need to sleep, not fret.

No comments: