I am rapidly approaching my breaking point, sadly, after only 2 days of being responsible for my 8th graders.  Today I had a student, who is very intelligent but has a tendency to misbehave, ask me why I let the other students take advantage of me.  It really took me aback and I didn’t know how to answer him.  Why do I let them take advantage of me?  Are they really taking advantage of me or am I giving them enough rope to “hang themselves?”  I’m basically at a loss.  I’m trying every weapon in my arsenal, every tool in my toolbox and I’m continually coming up empty. 

I become animated talking about Jim Crow laws, Plessy v. Ferguson and the denial of the rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to try to incite some passion and maybe even get a meaningful discussion and all I do is get the kids worked up in the wrong way, being inappropriate.  I’ve taken conduct points, assigned detentions and sent 1 kid to the office for gross disrespect (he said “Freak you” to my face when I asked him to give me the purse he was carrying around).  By the end of the day I decided to tone it down, just follow the book and the notes to try to keep the kids mellow and my coordinating teacher told me afterward to be more animated.  Ugh, I can’t win for trying. 

He also told me that I need to start contacting parents otherwise I can’t do any office referrals.  I HATE contacting parents.  I am always afraid that somehow I’ll get blamed, chewed out, or somehow humiliated.  I despise confrontation.  Also, as a parent I know just how hard it is to do anything about how your child behaves at school.  Sure, you can talk, threaten and scream until you’re blue in the face but once they’re at school they’re out of your hands.  (I speak from experience…Aidan is kicking at school and I have no idea how to deal with it.) 

This student teaching gig is HARD!  My coordinating teacher told me today that student teaching isn’t anything like reality.  Like parenting, it’s easier to deal with your own children than someone else’s.  Today I made the mistake of assigning a group punishment.  It wasn’t truly a punishment, rather than copying the note on Plessy v. Ferguson from the Powerpoint, I had the class copy the section from the book in silence.  The class, particularly 2 boys, would.not.shut.up!  I put up with it, put up with it, and put up with it until I started a video on the Jim Crow laws and I saw something fly through the air.  I stopped the video and gave them the section to copy…much to their unhappiness.  Unfortunately it backfired because all of the class did it but the 4 worst behaved kids in the class.  I admitted my mistake (group punishments are a no-no) to my coordinating teacher and he asked me what I would do different if I could.  I would defintitely have put the 2 big mouthed boys out of the room.

Anyway, if you’re still reading, I appreciate it.  I needed to vent!  I question my sanity on an almost hourly basis for PAYING money to do this but I know once I succeed at this school I can succeed anywhere.  I just have to get through the next 18 days.  Pray for me (and my kids!)