A needed vent of sorts…
I want to believe my classroom experiences have prepared me for many, varied experiences. The truth is, each year is different, each class is different, and sometimes I don’t have all the answers.
I so appreciate this post from @thatmathlady. We have in mind what we want to see, hear and do in our classrooms, but inevitably, it comes down to the students who walk through the door. Reading her post encouraged me. Successful strategies from the past may not be right for the particular kiddos before us. We must pause. Breathe. Adjust.
For several weeks, I’ve been struggling with a particular class. Usually when things don’t go smoothly, I turn to my PLN or colleagues down the hall, adjust and hit the next day with a new strategy. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I have hit a wall with this class. Nothing I’ve tried seems to make progress. And I am frustrated. You would expect a veteran teacher to know what to do. We are nearly half way through the semester and I feel like I have failed.
Yes, there are some who are struggling, thus their outbursts of verbal frustrations. Yet, I see no effort at all on their part to improve. I fear by the time I begin to make some turnaround with them, the semester will be over. And it will be too late.
I suppose I place too much of my own worth/value in their progress. I need to step back. Breathe. Remind myself there is only so much I can do. At some point, it’s got to be their choice to want to improve. I have not been able to convince them I am here as their support. They don’t trust me. When they are ready to begin moving forward, I can provide help and direction. Until then, I will continue to invest in all learners to the best of my ability.
I will not, however, waste valuable class time arguing over their lack of effort and desire to learn. I have lost control because I allowed them to set the tone of the classroom. Its disrespectful of their classmates and myself. Its unprofessional on my part that I’ve allowed it. It’s unacceptable.
If they choose not to participate, they will not interupt myself or others of our desire to move forward.
Usually, there is 1 or 2 students who buck my classroom system, but I eventually am able to coax them from the dark side. But this class, I have experienced disrespect from at least 7 students. Nearly 1/3 of the class.
I have attempted win-win conversations, how can our attitudes and actions change to make this better and work? Even asking what I could do. No improvements.
Sadly, the learning environment in my classroom breaks my heart. I shouldn’t have, but I told them in 20 years, I have not experienced a more disrespectful class. This is sad because it’s not the majority of the students.
The last day in class I was in survival mode. I was thankful for Homecoming Picnic the following day so I didn’t have to see them. I needed a timeout.
This week is fall break. A much needed break. I have read, perused blogs, looking for an up-do. I want to return Monday with a new attitude, new energy. I want to believe I can still make a difference.
The reality is, I was shaken. It’s hard when something you adore doing turns around and bites you. It’s difficult to face that challenge. But I remind myself, not to give up. It’s hard. I’m human.
So once, again, I pull out the star fish story as a reminder…