Monday, September 15, 2008


Wow, friends, thank you so much.

Thank you for the kind words, the encouragement, the support. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am giving you all a big friendly hug right now.

The time away from school this weekend helped immensely. I slept for eleven hours on Friday and nine on Saturday, which was divine. I got my week planned, and right now I'm looking ahead to the next chapters so I can finally get ahead. I think we've all been treading water the last two weeks, with extra time demands before school and endless meetings after school every damn day.

Those are mostly over now--I think--and I have promised myself to leave before or by 6pm every night. It's funny; in August, I made what seemed like the lofty goal of staying at least one hour after school three days a week. HA! Now I'm lucky to stay fewer than two every day. Again, I'm pretty sure this will get better with time, as my units build themselves and management improves and my confidence increases.

Y'all's reaction about the homework issue is making me feel better. I've always been a strict proponent of daily homework in the past. It was a pain in the ass to grade, but I got disciplined about getting it all done at school. I could also 'read' a whole page in a few seconds. Now, I have roughly the same number of students, but no organization. I haven't been worrying about it, exactly, but the piles have been on my mind and stress me out every time I notice the bins on the ground. I finally got a couple stacky things for my desk. I hope to throw the assignments with little to no reading of them. So thanks for the reassurance about not doing much with them. :)

On Saturday, I chatted with my good friend Ms Math from last year. She was telling me about all the crap going at my old school. It reminded me that I need to be grateful for the administration's attempts to help and intervene in discipline/student issues. I need to get used to sharing the pain instead of keeping it all inside my classroom and my head. :) I really miss Ms Math and a few other good folks from my old school, but I don't miss the mass craziness and looseness.

Since last week felt so difficult, I am determined to not let that happen again. I am going to feel positive this week, dammit! It will be a good week and I will improve! As you can probably tell, my positivity looks a more like grim determination than sunny smiles. But I can do it!

Today was today. There's one class--that I see twice a day--that I am having trouble managing and motivating. That one is kind of the worst part of my day. However, there is a class--the biggest one--that I'm seeing some improvements in.

And lest you or I believe that I haven't been improving, there are a few students that I've been working with and who aren't quite such disruptive assholes anymore. There are still plenty that are, and there are way too many who aren't working. But I'm making inroads with a few, at least.

I'm sure there was more I wanted to say, but my brain is full now. Thank you, goodbye.


Schoolgal said...

Keep that positive outlook. I'm glad you are rethinking your homework policy. September is a time to really develop the routines. And, the students have to know there are consequences. I used to hold mine in at lunchtime (or during my prep until we were told that taking away "specials" could upset the little critters self-esteem). By December, everything fell into place.

Do not stay a second passed 6pm. I also use to stay until 6. And I was lucky to make a dent in all the paperwork.

Do you still get the Jewish holidays off? If so, plan something special for yourself.

Sarah said...

Have you read "The First Days of School" by Harry Wong? I just got back from a conference he did. Teaching procedures has SAVED by sanity. I have three different age/grade levels a day (elementary school), but it really applies to ALL levels. Here is a website that is helpful:

One of my teacher friends came back from the Harry Wong conference, apologized to her students for being such a sucky teacher for the last three weeks (which they appreciated!) and then proceeded to teach them procedures. I saw her class in the hall yesterday waiting to go into the bathroom (lined up SILENTLY in the hall) while she read to them.

Just a suggestion!

Ms. George said...

Hi Jules,
Sorry I haven't been keeping up with you either. My Dad died on the second night of school and I was out for a few days.
Your classes sound like mine did the year I started my blog. I left for home crying almost every week, feeling like such a failure, and missing my former students so much it hurt. I was able to get through that year by relying on friends, my writing, and really sticking to the routines and discipline of teaching. By the spring I had made peace with my most troublesome classes and was actually enjoying teaching again, reinvigorated by the ways I had to stretch to reach some of them.
Hang in there, but I am glad to hear you are trying to stay positive. My thoughts are with you!