Thursday, June 30, 2005

Up and Down Week

It's been a real mixed bag teaching this week. Mondays and Tuesdays are hardest because I teach the little one 1.5 hr of math in the morning, then the big ones 1.5 hr of math next, then the little ones for 3 hrs in the afternoon, and then a private tutor in math for an hour. So basically, I have the kids for the full day, and it gets really long. The last hour can be almost useless. The little ones who are decently behaved get worse and worse as the day goes on. One day I lost it and I ended up yelling "shut up" really rudely. I thought about apologizing later, and explaining I had lost my temper, etc., but it apparently didn't bother them at all. I keep enhancing the curriculum, or just plain creating one. So I have decided that the last hour of each day is Life Science hour. It is a change of topic, and let's them know what they will be reading and writing.

Anyway, there were just some really bad times, when I could barely even get them to play games, much less work. And the big ones have real discipline issues. Wednesdays through Fridays are always easier, if not better, because I only work in the morning. Today I did a lot better. I had an assessment test for the little ones in Math. They all know how to take tests, though they complained of course. The only problem there is that I now have pages and pages to grade. Then I did a lot better managing the big ones today. They had the 3 strike rule in force, and I was very strict. Kids at that age just can't handle laid-back, which is how I normally live my life, so it is hard for me to be hard-ass. And exactly what we were going to do was laid out from the beginning right out on the board for them. In the end, it just worked better. I kept trying to have a strict set of rules and then relax them as if they would learn better behavior. But I think that is just confusing, and they don't know what the rules are or if there are any. So I will do better being consistent.

I happen to be writing on a good day, so you are not hearing the negative stuff, but this week really has been horrible for discipline issues. Both I and the other teacher have almost walked out of a class, giving up. On Tuesday, I so lost my temper that I had to give myself a time out. I turned to the corner and counted to 10 to let myself breathe and calm down before I turned back around and spoke to them again.

It's a learning experience, right? The only major thing I am going to have to watch is that the Director asked that we give homework now. That's fine, but it means I have to grade the homework too. Right now it means I am working an extra hour for them for no pay. If I can't figure out a way to change this, I will have to bring it up with him.

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