The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 26 2012

Take the Good, and Move On

Day 36: The human brain is a weird, illogical place. I taught for an absurdly long 300 minutes today, not even counting homeroom time (another 100 minutes), and yet I had a whole bunch of wins. First and second period were so easy that I managed to work on my grad school project for half the time. At the end of fourth period, a student nominated me as someone who showed our core values this year. Sixth period was smooth sailing, and my principal observed me seventh period … during which I’m pretty sure the most egregious violation of my values was a dropped book during silent time.

And yet, I’m still thinking about the two things that weren’t so hot, starting with third and fourth period. Definitely not a train wreck, but not exactly a bastion of on-task behavior, either. Kids goofing around during partner work, kids not managing to be silent during silent time, kids talking, kids laughing … kids generally not being as good as I know they can be.

I find it’s more productive to think about what’s on me. It it’s on me, I can control it, and I can fix it. And the thing I have to fix is obvious. I was so damn tired in class that I lost my patience. When I say lost my patience, I don’t mean that I blew up at any kids. But I gave consequences with just a hint more frustration than usual, and I lost just a little of the humor and goofiness that normally powers my classroom.

I know most of this is in my head. After class, about five girls hung back to just talk and hang out. I’m pretty sure I didn’t lose any fans today. But given how well my year is going, I have really high standards. And me tired and bumbling through a crummy lesson plan is not what I want to be doing.

The only other bummer worth mentioning is one of my leaders turning into anything but. “A” started the year as a rock star, participating and being a role model and saying all the right things. But the goofiness began a few days ago, and morphed into outright disrespect today. At one point, when I enforced a consequence my homeroom partner gave, she asked with disdain, “Do you just follow everything she does, or can you do things for yourself?” I was so taken aback by the sudden attitude that for the first time all year, I froze; I didn’t actually call her on her crap.

That’s enough of the bad stuff. I’m going to assume that “A” will pull it together, and that if she doesn’t, I’m not going to freeze twice. And I’m also going to assume that come Monday, when I see this class again, I’ll be ready. Too many good things happened today for me to think anything other than  I can and will fix any problem quickly. On to the next day.

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