So, how did it go? The hub, the son, several family members and one of our superior administrative assistants wanted to know.
Just fine, folks.
I had visited my classroom a few times over Christmas Break -- this is what I'M calling it; deal with it.
It felt like an alien landscape. Among other things, like having been gone almost a year, the fine young fellow who filled in for me had leftr the place neat and orderly. The desk was cleared; all clutter was tossed; all materials were sorted, stacked, and slid into the side bookshelves.
This is NOT the way I usually leave my room nor re-enter it. It took me almost a hour to re-nest, scattering papers here and there, opening textbooks and marking them and then leaving them open at non right angles.
I had hoped that teaching would be like riding a bike....once you learn, you never forget...but that's not really possible as the objects (students) with which you work will change from year to year.
I did my best to get organized last week, making notes of things I was unclear about..."what color pass for dress code violation?" "what times we must never send students into the halls" "do I stil have an assigned parking space?" (yes) and "who has a copy room code?"
In advance, I shot e-mails to the wise ones who could answer and by Monday morning, the answers were there and my questions disappeared.
So, in they come, 6 classes of high school students. Some knew me from several years ago when I had a freshman SRP (kind of study hall but DON'T call it study hall!) Some, and this happens more often, had heard things from their moms or dads or older siblings. Many knew that I had taken a leave and so I gave them the short version of why I was back at school.
Anyway, it felt good. It felt right to be there, passing out my class rules as per requirement, going over those rules plus the 'refinements' like no drinks and no food in the classroom. Then, as we have budding lawyers everywhere, we had to discuss what 'drink' means and my definition of 'food.' So we did.
Rules rules rules. It seems like there are a lot of rules. And as a child of the late 60's, I remember when I was in HOW TO BE A TEACHER school and they told us that students crave rules, I thought, "No they don't."
But they do. They want to know what to expect and most want to know how to avoid conflict. Most, not all.
I kicked out my first two students ON THE FIRST DAY. I couldn't BELIEVE it! If anything, I'm more mellow and patient that normal. And it's unusual, really, for 17 year olds to draw the line in the sand. Most are mature enough to just want to get along.
However, God and the computer have given me my challenging class, made up of about 6 kids who teamed up to disrupt. Really, someone should study such things. It's amazing. In this, at least, they've embraced that group-think thing. And as the chaos was moving around the room, from this desk to that one over there, to the one in the back and then on, among the troubled ones was the sea of faces who were begging me to do something and was fretful that I would not be up to the task. "Oh great. We have to put up with THIS."
Now, you might ask, what in the world could some poor kiddies do to get the boom lowered on the first day.
One little delight said, out loud at the wrong time, "You're going to have a problem with me being tardy."
"I"m not going to have a problem with it."
"Yes you are. I will be tardy a lot." (First class of day)
"I'm not going to have a problem with it."
"I don't like your tone, lady. You should NOT be talking to me like that."
Really? She said THAT to the teacher?
As the legion of high school teachers would say, "Welcome to our world."
We DO see a lot of kids who have been encourage to speak their minds, whenever they feel like it and to anyone they feel like talking to. Perhaps this student is one of those of the encouraged.
Out she goes.
Of course, she'll be back. They always come back. This is public school, after all and they are entitled to their education. Of course they are.
What they are NOT entitled to is disruption of OTHERS getting THEIR education.So when the mouthy child returns, he/she may have the bad judgement to say that nothing has happened to him/her.....as though I care. And if that's true, that the powers that be did NOT address this (again, don't know don't care), then the behavior will emerge again and out he/she will go again. I can keep this up all semester if needs be.
What I care about is that the students who want to be there get THEIR due. He/She will have to learn to play it my way or the path the the office will get worn.
Whew. That felt good. I'm back and THAT feels good.