Friday, May 3, 2013

Rough Day......Or Not. Choices.

I had a rough day today.

I spent my recess duty trying to decipher who was responsible in a possible incident that happened in the lunch room during lunch between two students of mine. I was nowhere near the students during this time. The student comes and tells me what happened. (hopefully because they trust me) I thought I had the story straight. I informed those above me that needed to know. They were questioned by the assistant principal. None of the stories panned out as matching and things I was told wasn't told to the assistant principal. The eyewitnesses didn't have the same story. The assistant principal, who is in charge of discipline, made his ruling on the case. It basically resulted in a draw and some new seating arrangements. So, one student was probably telling me the correct story. I could probably trust one of the students more than the other. I talk about building trust. I use trust to motivate. Break the trust. You don't get as much freedom. Keep trust with me = we be jammin'. Break trust with me = you don't get to do much cool stuff like work in the hall, work with friends, work in small groups, sit together on the futon, choose your partner, etc, etc. So what if that student can't trust me now since what they told me was truth? Does having someone else in charge of discipline break trust with teachers? I don't know. Just something I'm pondering at the moment.

I then spent my prep time, 40 minutes, investigating a different altercation that happened at recess. I pulled kids out of their art class to question what happened. About 10 kids in all. I had conflicting stories galore. I had to interrupt another teacher's class to figure out this story. I also passed it off to the assistant principal.

At the end of the day, I asked a student to stop running in the halls as a whole herd of students were was going to the buses. I asked that student to go back and do it correctly. The student did it reluctantly while mouthing off to me. That student then started running again. I asked him to go back and do it correctly again. That student looked right at me. Waited a second and then said, "No!" I was furious. I raised my voice and made that student go back and do it correctly. I then escorted the student all the way to the bus as the student continued to not take responsibility and talk about the other students who were running, which I quickly pointed out as we looked around that there was not any other student running.  That student told me that I continued to ruin their life. I told the student that it was that student's choice to not follow rules/expectations and it had nothing to do with me. I was just enforcing the rules/expectations. The student mouthed off all the way to the buses. If I would have said that to my teachers growing up, I would have been punished accordingly. When I got home off the bus, I would have then been punished more by my loving parents.

Horrible day, right? Yes. It was bad. I hold my emotions in. I don't get too flustered with students. It takes me awhile to get my blood boiling, per se.  But I get the most frustrated when students do stupid things on purpose and they affect others around them that are being respectful and working hard. When they know that what they are doing is wrong and they continue to do it just for the sake of a laugh or to tick me off on purpose.  Their logic makes zero sense to me. I will tell them it doesn't make sense. I honestly, experience situations like today more often than not. So, that's at least every other day. The day before, I had a student tell me that him chewing gum was an accident. We have rules against gum in 6th grade. (Ask me why I don't allow gum and I'll tell you that the week my teaching partner and I did allow it, I stepped in it twice and another was ground into the carpet in my room.) He told me it was a complete accident that he was chewing gum and it wasn't his fault. Literally. He told me it was an accident. An accident. Is it acceptable for me to tell a student that what they just said is the stupidest thing that they could have said at that given moment? What's crossing the line in a situation like this? My mom and dad would have knocked my block off for being so "smart."

In the midst of the chaos that was happening today. I did find time to reflect and think about the great things that do happen.

  • Some students (the ones that do work and work hard) have finished a book called Crispin: The Cross of Lead. They have enjoyed the book. It's a Middle Ages historical fiction adventure. 
    • Side note - it did tick me off to see a student who isn't finished with the book not take anything home. I asked him if he had any homework to finish up with Crispin. He said no. I told him he needed to take his book home. He laughed and walked off. He lied to me. He isn't working hard. He will probably complain to me about his grade later on. I find it harder and harder to want to help these students. Does that sound bad? Of course it does. Do I literally waste all my energy and time trying to get students like this to at least try to do something? Sure. Is it worth it? Is it worth my sanity to go home exhausted every night? Are these the students that need it most? Of course. I can't do it for them though. There has to be a hint of initiative on their end doesn't there?
  • We reviewed dialogue during language arts today. It was great seeing that students had retained a lot of the information. 
  • I helped one student complete their SS country project bibliography in a one-on-one setting because he had already finished reading Crispin and wanted to start on it early. 
  • I read some of the responses about making connections to Crispin and loved reading them as it not only showed that they made great connections, but that they showed a great knowledge of Crispin as well. 
  • We talked about asking Fat (more deep) over Skinny (skimming the surface) questions while reading Crispin. I could see their thinking evolve from Skinny thinkers to Fat thinkers. 
  • We've been using Bloom's questions that they are generating to guide our discussions. I have them do a question from each level of Bloom. Wow! When given the opportunity to use the question starters as guides it has served us great purpose and eventually thinking. 
  • One student finished their Crispin packet and started working on their SS Interactive Notebook from yesterday. Yes!
  • One student finished their Crispin packet and started studying their vocab words for the test tomorrow. Yes!
  • I had 6 girls want me to fill out an evaluation for them because they are trying out for the cheer team next year. 
  • I heard my teaching partner did well on his observation meeting with the principal. 
  • I also lent my shoes to my teaching partner after school because he forgot his for track practice that he coaches. :) My team is great!
  • My team is great! After school, one of them came in and shared what they are doing with their country projects. 
    • I gave her what I was doing last week. Mutual sharing. Once again, I love my team. 
  • One of my students from last year stopped in to say hello. 
  • During social studies today, we read about the Crusades. We watched a video on knights today as well. They found a connection between the movie and the reading. 
  • One student made a connection between the SS textbook and Crispin. 
  • I chatted with the treasurer and secretary for a bit today. I normally do, but it was a good chat. 
  • I chatted with the counselors as we tried to accomplish the task of figuring out the above solutions to the drama in my room. 
  • The parent organization at our school donated a basketball to our room. The kids will love it. 
  • After school, I ran an open gym for basketball. I love coaching basketball. The best part about it is that all the kids are there to get better. They want to be there. It's something that they enjoy. We have fun. 
    • This is a little bit different than the classroom where some students don't want to be there at all. 
    • During the season, I also have a very effective form of discipline that can work wonders. It's called the bench. Sit there until you figure out how to play like the team needs. 
  • After middle school open gym, I went to the gas station because I had a low tire. The gas station has free air. Do you see that anywhere anymore?! What a great way to give to others in need. I bought a fountain drink as payment for the free air for my tire. 
  • I popped into the High School open gym. Chatted with some former players and caught up. Chatted with the JV coach about basketball and summer plans. I liked it.  
  • I took a back road home. Gets me in a good mood. 
  • Got home and my dad was mowing my yard. I hopped on his other mower and helped him finish. 
  • My mom watched my infant son this evening.
  • It was good to hang out together this evening after mowing. 
  • Tomorrow is Friday!
  • Many others I can't remember. 
So, while there is so much negativity in my room, there are shining lights. I don't give them enough attention. I   will try to pull them aside and tell them individually. 

See the positive. Be the light. Be a game changer. 

It's 1am. I need some sleep. It felt good to write.

I'm leaving you with a quote from John Wooden. 

"I will not like you all the same, but I will love you all the same. Each one will receive what is earned and deserved." 

And one from someone else

"You learn something from everyone you meet, even if it's what not to do."

I had a great day.