Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 08 2010

SHUT UP. please.

My Period 3 is still exhausting. They can NOT stop talking. I have enough control to get them quiet, but not enough control to keep them quiet. Someone always has to call something out. Or chat with their friend. Or yell because someone threw something/stole something/broke something. It’s impossible to teach without interruptions, and then have to interrupt my teaching further in the process of getting them to stop talking. The only way to get extended silence is for me to snap and get really angry, which finally gets them scared enough to take me seriously. But it ruins any good energy in my classroom, it ruins my day, and it ruins their feelings about math. I hate yelling at kids. I hate even more when kids won’t let their classmates learn.

On a really bad day, I’ll send kids out until the problem is no longer in my classroom. But that can’t be an every day solution, because then all those kids aren’t learning. Sure, you can argue that they don’t want to learn anyway, but they’re in 8th grade. They don’t know how much they want to learn, and not all of them are mature enough to control their behaviors in hopes of long-term gain. They just aren’t that good at the Big Picture yet. I don’t want to solidify their decision to not get an education… I’d like to at least try to get them somewhere. I wish I knew what I’m supposed to do.

And it’s annoying, but my job could be much worse. After my class, they go on to reading. It’s always been a rough group, but their reading teacher quit in October. They’ve had subs since then. They hired a teacher to replace her early this year, and the woman quit after ONE DAY. Now they’ve finally hired someone who is willing to put up a fight for these kids, but she just graduated college in December and that class is crazy. Imagine that… fresh out of college, and immediately stuck with this impossible group. (Sound familiar? No one feels her pain more than I do.) But at least I got them fresh at the beginning of the year… she has to fill a hole caused by all these quitting teachers, and try to manage what is now established insanity. She deserves a huge hug and some type of medal. And probably a pay raise….

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