I would like to wear a sign that says:
Take your feet off the desk. No I don’t have anymore pencils /pens /gluesticks /erasers /scissors /whiteboard markers. Stop leaning back in your chair. Feet off the desk. Your no homework/no paper/no notebook is your problem, not mine. No you cannot get a drink or water or sharpen your pencil for the 3rd time this class period. Yes this is due today. No you can’t go to your locker. Spit out the gum/candy. Work more, talk less. If you don’t understand then ask me, do not sit there like an inert piece of jell-o hoping the answer will magically drop out of the sky. No I cannot talk about your grade this instant moment.
And this litany isn’t what I ever wanted to be as a teacher. I mostly ignore it, but hence the sign. As they file in I find myself saying “No, no, no, no, hmm, no, no sorry, no.”
I have a somewhat remarkable 3rd period. They are so loud all my teachers all around me know them and can hear them. They actually scream in class, and no, I have never said that was ok. Almost every day they have to spend time after the bell. They take minutes to stop talking, it doesn’t even seem to occur to them to stop. I actually had a kid ask me how I got pregnant (I know, he was being a twerp) and another who asked me why we can’t just do easy questions for the the journal, like what is our favorite color.
This whole year I have felt pretty cool with middle school, and the only exception is during this class period. They aren’t bad, they are just immature, sometimes lazy and basically they are every bit middle school students. And their sheer overwhelming middle-schoolness makes me exhausted. In a relatively small class of about 19 kids, there are at least 5 that need pretty much constant one-on-one type of oversight. Many/almost all of these ELD kids were born in the US and their language skills many times are slow learning or migrant related, not so much language issues. So, like the game of “whackamole” If I do one on one with one or two, there are always about 3 that do not get what they need from me.
I do have an instructional assistant. The kids love him. He is utterly useless to me. He tells them how to do things incorrectly, he guesses what I want them to do rather than asking me, all he does is walk around and tell kids to get to work and they ignore him. I have asked him to work one on one with some kids, and he does it once, and then he just hangs around with the other kids that he likes. I will not ever ask him into my classroom again, he is totally useless to me. I tried very hard for the first half of the year to establish professional rapport with him. I think he thought I was hitting on him, I don’t know how else to explain his behavior. It’s like he is there for the kids, but not the teachers.
Wow, I have just spent alot of time whining! Imagine who hasn’t heard all that whining that I have just released into the wilds of the internet!