Friday, May 23, 2008


The Roos have been crazy lately--with the teachers who lack classroom management. I'm not finding myself very sympathetic, as it's MAY and by now they should have been working on it all year to prepare for the spring insanity. As of now, apparently the good/in-control teachers are being asked to reprimand the class FOR that lacking teacher. Dude. Get your shit together, it's not even your first year teaching.

Anyway, the Roos are decent for me--squirrelly, sure, a little; chatty, sometimes, of course. But that's one of my great success stories--after my first year (and during too) I've worked really hard at management--I set the very strict tone in September and I fuss at them over small, little things. That prevents the big crazy stuff and lets them know the classroom is a peaceful place to be and to work. And I think they do actually appreciate it, because recently I only raise my eyebrows and they shush each other.

So this week we've been evaluating writing in portfolios and working on revising. Which means I'm actually giving them individual work time during class to write. This can be a sticky situation, as they're often only quiet and on task if I'm standing up front glaring at everybody. Once I circulate, the chatter creeps up and I have regulate. Loudly and sternly.

Also, since our recent field trip went so well and we all had such a good time, Ms Math and I decided to have the classes compete for another field trip in a few weeks. We will be calculating homework percentages and class points, and the class with the highest number will go to the zoo. (Ha! For a trip, not for imprisonment. Although some we might be tempted to leave there...) The students know about so this week I've been extra tough on them, issuing that challenge. "You CAN all be "A" students. I WANT you to keep all your class points. Focus and do your work!"

And yesterday, they really did! Yes, I had to move them into rows instead of tables, but they all sat quietly, and nearly all of them were busy writing. It was very gratifying.

At the back of the class sits ESL Girl. She's pretty low functioning altogether, not just because of language, so she struggles a lot with writing. Her grades struggle even more because most of the time she doesn't do anything at all. This girl wouldn't know a paragraph if it hit her in the face.

A few months ago, during the after school program that was cancelled months ago, I sat with her and walked her through the four square process and then the essay process. She did fine, for her level, but I figured it would kind of go in one ear and out the other. We haven't done essays since then, either.

So yesterday, as I was walking around, I passed by her and glanced at her notebook. There was a complete four square and gosh darn it--she was in the fourth paragraph of her essay!

That pretty much made my day as a teacher.

1 comment:

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

We all need those "day-making" experiences to keep us going. Glad you got yours!