I started my unit on Monday. I've been having trouble with my 5th and 6th bells. I feel like they are out to get me. My mentor teacher keeps giving me points to remmeber.
- Don't talk when other students are talking. Even if you have to stand for 10 minutes in silence until the class finally stops they will eventually get fed up.
- State expectations clearly.
- If an activity fails and a little later you want to try to start it up again don't give students open ended questions, such as "Who wants to try reading aloud again?" Be direct and don't let students dictate what you have planned. Don't give students a choice.
- Don't answer call outs. (This is what I'm having the biggest problem with).
- Don't confront students in front of the class. That will give them all the more reason to talk back at you in front of their peers and will make things worse. Quietly tell them to go out into the hall and then talk to them with no one around when you get a moment.
I wanted to cry on Tuesday and this Monday just because I thought it went so badly. I didn't though because I don't want my students to think I'm weak or unable to handle it. I just wanted to cry because I'm so stressed out right now, not necessarily because I failed at teaching. The other days I had a girl taken by security and suspended. She was using her cell phone in class and I told her to hand it to me. She refused and when that happens you need to have security remove them and they are suspended pending a parent conference. I don't know how long she's suspended for, but she still isn't back. I think she wanted to transfer schools because she didn't want to do her summer homework. She's a bright girl, but she wants out if teachers try to challenge her. It's a shame. She'll never get anywhere with that attitude.
One of my other students told me to "Stop talking to us" in front of the whole class. I was so pissed, but I sent her into the hall and didn't have time to talk to her. I'm giving her a Thursday Night School. She's one of those girls who needs your attention at that moment. And she's a huge bully but is oblivious to it. When I talked to her today I made it clear that next time she has a question she needs to remember that she told me not to talk and that I won't answer her question unless she stays after school. I told her if she needed something right away she needed to talk to my MT. She responded, "That's okay. You're not the real teacher."
They keep trying to play the "you're not the real teacher" card on me now. But I am recognized by the school, district, and state as their teacher so they can stop trying to beat around the bush. I try not to take what they say to me seriously. Why do I care what a bunch of 10th graders think of me? I don't. My mentor teacher says that despite how bad I think things are going they aren't that terrible. He told me that if I took a tour of the school I'd feel much better about myself. He also said that he doesn't want me to do that though because he wants me to be the best that I can be and by watching other classrooms I might ease up a bit.
Every week we have 2 student of the weeks. On Wednesday we had the quarterly party with pizza and pop. It was fun and it was awesome to hang out with the students who make an effort to be all around "good." Also, on Friday we finally had our donuts and juice for winning the door decorating contest. They actually gave us enough donuts for 2 per student. It was awesome!
Today we had a former Miss America contestant come in to talk to the school about bullying. I was SO disappointed in how the school behaved. They did not respect her. Some students were laughing at the stories of how she was bullied and about other students who committed suicide. If I were her I would have just walked out with how disrespectful they were being. They were a little better towards the end, but I still couldn't believe them. I wanted to cry because some of the issues she was talking about resonate within me and to see students laugh about that stuff makes me glad I am no longer in high school.
Last Monday I had the students complete exit slips before they left class. The question I asked them was "What impression were you given after being introduced to the Holocaust?" I finally graded them and was VERY impressed with my students responses. It made my bad day on Wednesday so much better. The students went into detail about their impressions and some even connected to past historical events (like slavery) and to how they would feel in that same position. Part of my philosophy in teaching is that students connect the content to other subjects, events, and their own lives and not just memorize facts and dates. I told them the next day how proud I was of them.
Some funny things my students said:
Student: Are you having a baby?
Me [thinking she thought my dress made me look like I was pregnant]: What?!
Student: You said we'd find out later if it was a boy or girl.
Me: Oh! No! I was talking about Elie in the book we are going to read.
(By the way, it was Elie Wiesel)
Student to my MT and me as he was walking past our door: You know. You two make a cute couple.
(Awkward for the fact that he's way old than me, he's married, has 3 kids, and that would never ever happen!)
Me to the student presenting: What Jewish holiday did the Germans turn against the Jews in Sighet?
Me: Did you say D-day?
(The class burst out laughing)
This past weekend my cousin got married in Columbus. It is so weird that he is actually married. However, it was so much fun! It was a Duthie family reunion. I love my mom's side of the family so much and it was great to see everyone. I wish the weekend was longer. I can't wait for Christmas though! Pictures from the weekend are below:
My grandma and me