Friday, January 21, 2005

Blizzard Warning!

Between six and twelve inches of snow are expected to fall between tonight and Sunday. Whee! It has been years since I've seen that kind of snowfall. I'm excited. As you and I both know, I'm more than comfortable staying in my house all weekend.

So it's now Friday! I am thrilled, of course.

Thursday was a long, busy day. My throat hurt, but I could still talk fairly normally. I think my classes were okay. I went over the expectations for the final written proposal, the oral presentation, and the presentation board. Class C got all whiny and indignant about the typed requirement, which was just ridiculous because they knew about that back in December, as did their parents, if they actually read the notice I sent home with them. Grr.

While handing back drafts yesterday in Class B, I stopped by this one girl's desk and said to her, "[Student], you are such a great writer! You do a really good job of writing with voice and engaging the reader. I hope to see more work from you." She grinned and got all squirmy. It was cute.

After school, I talked to another first-year teacher who has some great resource books for test prep. Then, all too soon, it was time for the big meeting.

I think altogether eight parents showed up. That was good, I was happy with that. The parents seemed amenable to the AP's message: basically, the kids need to shape up. I showed them the ELA conduct sheet, and a parent made a couple suggestions to make it better. I agreed to redo it and try to get it out to all these kids at the beginning of next week (or possible the week after, since that will be the first week of the new quarter). Little C's cousin was there, she's also a new teacher and knows not to fall for Little C's sob stories about not feeling good. I already knew that because the day before, he'd tried to claim he felt sick. I told him straight out, "I do not believe you, because ten minutes ago, you were running around and wrestling in the hallway!" Anyway, she was nice.

Then, right as I was about to leave, another parent showed up and I talked to her and her son for another twenty minutes or so.

I left at six o'clock. Phew. My stomach had been rumbling for hours already, but right as I walked into my room to drop my stuff, the phone rang.

It was the sister of one of my struggling students. I get a lot of calls from her; she called me twice last night and tried to call FOUR TIMES today. She keeps asking the same questions over and over, not listening to my responses. She calls and asks me questions about what her brother is supposed to do. Either he does not pay any attention, or she's doing the work for him.

I very reluctantly just answered her most recent call. I was really irritated at last night's two calls, but I thought, ok, it's a new day, try to be patient. But then she went and asked me the same stupid questions over and over, and asking, "what should he do?" and "I asked him what to do and I couldn't understand him," and then, "so is the presentation board about the group project or his topic [the random tangent that he went off onto]?" After all the talk last night about group work, I was done. So I said, as stern as I could without being openly hostile, "Look. You need to talk to him. I don't know what he said. You keep asking me these questions that you should be asking him. Talk to him first, not me." Apparently she got the hint and said "um, okay, well, thank you, bye." This is what I get for calling people on my own cell phone and leaving my number too. So far no one has abused it, I've gotten a couple random calls from parents with questions, which is totally cool. But this? Calling four fucking times in one day? Not okay. She does not get any more of my personal time OR my daytime minutes. IT'S OVER.

Ohhkay. Deep breath, it's over, moving on.

How was today? It was Friday, and it was okay. Started off with Class A first period, and we did some quick test prep together. They were pretty good. Actually, quite good. I made sure to keep a very close eye on those boys whose parents I'd just seen, and praised and thanked them for their work. I've started making "good job" lists in my anecdote book, and I let the kids know when I'm putting their name on it. Then, they get a jelly bean at the end of class.

Once they went into group work, the group that includes Little K and Little C were not exactly model students. There was definitely time spent out of their seats and goofing around. Oh yeah: before class, Little C came up and said quietly, "Ms C, maybe next time we have new seats, I shouldn't sit with my friends, cause they distract me. And next time we do a project, maybe I'll take someone that does their work, because these kids distract me." I told him that I was sort of afraid that would happen, but I was glad he noticed and that he knew what he needed to do. It was very sweet. I was touched that he had the courage to admit that to me. He's a good kid.

Another group of girls has done not a thing in class all week long. The other group of boys that can be troublesome was fairly mellow today, if not exactly productive. The other three or four groups kept up their tradition of being mostly good students.

Altogether, pretty cool way to start the day.

Many kids had actually listened to my suggestion that they come in today at lunch to work on their projects. A few groups brought in their boards and got started cutting out letters for their titles, and figuring out their design. There must have been at least thirty kids in there, because there was a group crowded around each of the six tables. It was a bit chaotic. I tried not to get too cranky; I hate noise during lunch.

Class B was chatty, as usual. After waiting a good six minutes for them to get ready in the hallway before entering, it took awhile to go over the rubric checklist, so they had a mere four minutes to get in some logistical planning. Four minutes of chaos, and I just let it go. Probably not the best idea, but today is the last day of it, so I'm going to just relax and make sure to plan the next group project a lot differently.

Class C...I had to yell at them for excess chattiness and attitude. (I do my best to do it to keep them on their toes, not because I'm angry. I do get irritated, but I take it to the next step to keep them in line a bit. Like I've said before, it's kind of fun, putting on a mean teacher act.) They did well with the test prep, though. The group stuff was a little chaotic, but I guess I've seen worse.

With all this blizzard hullaballoo, I'm contemplating allowing them to turn things in a bit later. I won't tell them this, of course. We'll see how the weekend goes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...but geez, you're her brother's teacher. You're supposed to be helping them!! You don't sound like you have the patience to be a teacher. If he is a problem child, you need to give him extra attention....i mean that's your job!