Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 04 2010

Stop talking, you’re taking up all the oxygen

Today was my first day back at school after winter break. Teaching may feel like the hardest job ever much too often, but 2 weeks of paid vacation is a pretty amazing experience.

Everyone says second semester is way easier than first. First semester was incredibly hard, but I could do it again. If second semester is better, then I will survive this year. I was actually even really happy to see (most of) the kids, and I had fun teaching (most of) my classes. That’s good news.

The one exception, obviously, was my Period 3. I got another new student, which brings my roster to 38. One was absent, so we were 37 in the classroom. (That’s been my roster for a long time, but it’s been awhile since 37 kids were actually there.) We were crowded in so tight that the kids were complaining that they had no room, it was too hot, they felt claustrophobic, etc. A couple started saying they were going to run out of oxygen. I felt the same way.

While my other classes were good today, it took me a frustrating amount of time to get Period 3 to listen. The problem with so many bodies clustered so tightly is that when a bunch of kids are talking at once, I can’t even figure out where the voices are coming from. I can’t give consequences because the problem is coming from all over and just blends into the group. This has the awkward result of me standing around apparently doing nothing after telling the kids to be quiet, because I’m working so hard on isolating voices and catching mouths moving that really I’m just silently staring at them. It’s extremely ineffective and horribly frustrating. Somehow I did manage to get them to listen (to the point where a student remarked on how silent the class was later), but I couldn’t tell you how I did it. Forgive me, because I know kids need to be in school, but PLEASE let more of Period 3 be absent tomorrow. Pleasepleaseplease.

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