Archive for April, 2011

Spring Break is for Teachers

I can not say how much I am loving some time away from school.

Honestly, the last few weeks I have been unfairly patient with my students and completely lacking creativity.

After some quality time with the pool this week, I think I might be back on my A-game by Monday :)

Nothing like the Vegas sun to put you in a better mood!

What do you do to recharge when you’re starting to feel burnt out?

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Success! a.k.a. the day my 9th graders behaved more like high schoolers than middle schoolers!

Wow. I can’t even believe what happened on Friday. After the catastrophe that started the week, I thought Wednesday through Friday would be even worse.

The week actually got better after Tuesday and ended up finishing with one of the best moments I have had with my 9th graders since the beginning of the year.

In both sections of my 9th grade general science class, we finished up a Discovery Channel show about a massive trebuchet, redistributed graded work, and continued reading The Last Book In The Universe. That’s pretty average for a Friday and the kids are always bouncing off the walls for the weekend!

Not this Friday.

This Friday they sat quietly through the entire movie.

This Friday they quickly got their work taped into their notebooks.

This Friday one student volunteered to read out loud.

This Friday they all sat and listened quietly.

This Friday almost all students followed along in their books.

It doesn’t sound for much, but for a group of about 55 9th graders who still aren’t sure why it’s even important to pass their classes, it was nothing short of a miracle!

I know that as we get nearer to the end of the school year, behavior issues will get worse, so I hope this moment will be burned into my memory forever.

I’m Done For Today…

I haven’t written an update on my freshmen classes lately and today was a doozy!

My first 9th grade period of the day started with a disruptive student whose behavior has been getting progressively worse. It kills me because she has so much potential, but has such wild anger issues that I cannot have her in class. Another student dropped the f-bomb and went to do his time in the class next door for two minutes. On his way out, he gave me a hard time about ‘losing’ his notebook; he claimed to be joking, but I had to sternly remind him that I am not responsible for his possessions and he needs to get his act together.

It’s been difficult to keep students on track lately since we still have two weeks until Spring Break and haven’t had time off since Christmas and today was no exception. This particular class let their class average drop 12% when their goal is to reach a 75 by April 1st. We kept moving forward with the lesson and some students managed to stay on task. I watched and heard as another student drop another f-bomb and asked him to step next door. He argued that he didn’t saying anything and his friends lied for him.

And then I lost it.

“You know what? I come to school every day because I know you have potential; because I know you can learn. You have so many opportunities for a good education and you are throwing them all away every time you lie, don’t take responsibility for yourself, and get lazy or ignore your work. I am sick and tired of it, so I’m done for today.”

And I walked out.

I had always thought I would walk out if students got me frustrated enough, so it was really crazy that I actually did without thinking twice. Luckily, a friend was in the hallway, so she worked through the activity with the students until I could cool off a bit. I returned to class with about 15 minutes left, so we resumed and finished the lesson.

Tomorrow, I plan on starting class by generating a wish list of the rewards they would like if they reach their class average goal. That way we can all have a positive goal to work towards instead of focusing on all the negatives.

Ultimately, I hope my students understand that I care about them too much to see them make such poor decisions. On to a new day (after some awesome mental health time by the pool!!!!!)