A teacher in the office Friday morning mentioned that this time of year requires a whole different kind of stamina from teachers. That's totally what's going on. The fall flies by, with getting to know your kids, and holidays all over the place. Then, all of a sudden, it's January, it's bleak and seems like the time until June will just be a never-ending slope of work and no fun.
I have no idea what happened with my classes on Thursday. The students that I asked about it couldn't even remember the sub, except that she was a "bigger lady." Oh well.
I got up at 5.15 on Friday morning, anticipating that my room would be trashed and I would need to fix it up and stuff. When I arrived at 6.45, it actually was pretty much the same as when I left it. Meaning, no more trashed than normal. Grr.
I made copies of things for the test prep stuff, and did the daily morning things that I do in my classroom.
First period was Class A (it's the only day that I have them right away when school starts). They were a bit noisy, but the testing thing got going eventually. The Asshole seemed to be making an effort to be a bit more cooperative, which of course I appreciated. I saw him actually doing the work, and doing it well. Other students were chatty here and there, but overall, it has been much worse, so I guess it wasn't too bad.
Oh, and the principal stopped by my room while they were working, to ask about the bulletin board, why it wasn't up yet. I explained that I was out the day before, I would be doing it on my preps, and it would be up by the end of the day. I grabbed a copy of the write-ups I did about the Asshole incidents and gave it to him. He skimmed it and was appropriately shocked and upset by it. I was gratified by that, and also by the way he said that even though he's dealing with the kid on a counseling level, this inappropriate behavior definitely needs to be addressed. Hurrah for a supportive principal! He asked me to give a copy to the counselor too, and I said I would do that.
Second period, I was getting ready to do the "differentiated instruction" work that I'd come up with, when a couple kids reminded me that the announcements had said for the sixth-grade teachers to bring their classes to the auditorium second period. It took us awhile to get ready and down there, but at least we weren't the last ones to arrive.
The assembly was mostly about reminding the kids of what behavior is acceptable and what isn't. The AP, Dean, and Principal gave lectures about not putting up with things at this point in the year. One of them announced that several students have been kicked out for their behavior, and there will be more.
One of them they announced was a kid who was first in Class A, then in December switched to Class C. He was a big, consistent behavior problem, and his mother thought that all the teachers were just picking on him. Yeah, right. (Isn't it ironic that the one parent we need the most support from offers none?) Anyway, he was gone all the last week before break, and all this week too, but no one told me anything. So, now I know, he's been kicked out! It was all I could do not to cheer out loud.
In other good news, that tiny bitchy girl from Class C got transferred to another, smaller special ed class. When the inclusion told me at the beginning of class one day, I was like, "Really?!" and a student next to us apparently noticed my barely-contained glee. Heh. So relieved. She was full of a completely inappropriate attitude. (She's the one who was out of her seat, with her hand on the door to leave without permission, and when I mentioned that I would be writing a letter to the admin about her, rolls her eyes and goes, all snotty and exasperated, "Good for you, want a biscuit?" Good lord, I could not believe. Moments like that I am grateful I've never been a person leaning towards violence, because holy shit, did she need a good shake or slap right about then.)
Whee! So Class C should be a little easier to deal with without those two now. Much relief!
At lunch, I had a bunch of kids in my room. The normal three from Class A (Tall T, Little C, and Quiet Z), plus one from Class B, and a few from Class C. It was a little more chaotic than I'm used to, but we got some work done.
Class B was only one period, and I yelled at them a bit at the beginning of class. And actually, this week I have been yelling at classes, not just raising my voice. But I'm changing up my voice level and tone, too. For example, they were chatty at the very beginning. So I yelled, "I'M NOT PUTTING UP WITH THE NOISE. I'M NOT PUTTING UP WITH THE NOISE!!" Right away switching to a normal volume and pleasant tone, I said, "Anyone have any questions on that?" Heh, I hope they think I'm a little weird and crazy. Cause I am.
Class C...hm. We got a new student, another special ed/inclusion girl with a boy-sounding voice. She seemed pleasant enough. During the test, they actually did fine. Like I've said before, they respond pretty well to teacher bullying/guilt, so after some stern and loud words at the beginning, they were very good and stayed on task, quietly. Except for a table that was talking to each other about the test and I had to tell them three times that it's a TEST and if you are talking to someone, that is CHEATING and means they will FAIL. Geez.
Finally, I got to give them the varied instruction folders. The two "help with fundamentals" groups did vocab tic-tac-toe (the other teacher and I stayed with them to make sure they could actually get the vocab), and the rest read a passage and then matched up vocab and were supposed to answer comprehension and analysis questions. I really don't think any of those groups did any work, but it was too hard to leave the really-needs-help group to check on the others. Altogether, I stopped the class and told them the noise level was far too loud. We passed out some letters and the book orders. I went over the homework and they got ready to go. I decided to keep all the boys for two minutes of silence, because they were ready, but not in line and being really loud. They did okay with the quiet after that.
After school, Ms F, Ms C, Ms J and another Ms F, and I sat around talking about Las Vegas in April. It was fun, figuring out where to stay, if we should do a package deal, etc. I love travel stuff. Then, at the end, I got all wistful and excited about Europe, and the cheap package trips that could be done at midwinter break. Dangit, I hate not having money.
Last night, I watched tv, read, and perused TWoP all the way until 1.30am.
Now it's Saturday. Hurrah! I slept until 11.30, and have done absolutely nothing even mildly productive since.