Apparently I haven't named my classes yet, and I wanted to start keeping track of how each was doing. So.
My first class is very low level and very small. They shall be the Hedgehogs, because many of them are rather prickly at times. It's been a huge struggle lately to first control them and then get them paying attention and involved to learn something. Their homework completion, classwork, and test scores are all abysmal. I need to do something different, but at this point, it's all I can do to create one set of materials for all my classes. I don't have the brainpower or creativity to make something special for this one class.
My second class has a couple very difficult students, and as a group can be awful or amazing. They shall be dubbed the Cookie Monsters. The last three days of class, they have been awesome! One kid--hm, I can call him Talky--just refuses to control himself and was making noises, talking, all kinds of disruptions. But get this--the rest of the class worked silently! Yesterday I made sure to begin class with high praise for them.
Another I see two times a day for two different subjects, has a couple very difficult students and a handful of kids that occasionally choose to be difficult. I will call them the Whack-a-Moles. The year started very difficult with them, but at one point they became my favorites, because they were controlling themselves and working hard. The tide has turned all the way back and class with them is a complete disaster. On a good note, one of the worst kids in the grade, who calls out noises, words, weird voices, extremely disruptive, had two amazing days! I showered him with stickers, positive reinforcement, and praise in class, and yesterday started class by complimenting him to the whole class. How times do change, that the usually worst kid was the one working the most in class.
The fourth class thinks they are the s#!# because they're smart. They will be the Debaters because they always have something to say. It's hard to manage them, it's even hard to like them, because many of them are blatantly rude and disruptive. The talking almost never stops, and it's awful. They don't like me either.
This week I'm asking my classes to evaluate themselves and me at the end of each class. The results were mixed in terms of honesty about their own performance and mine as well. But I am willing to take feedback, and I hope that with more opportunity, the kids will start thinking about what they do and *how* they do it (which to me matters a little more) and hopefully preventing some of the nasty, disrespectful and disruptive behaviors.