The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 27 2012

A Rude Awakening

Day 54: I’ll be honest – today didn’t feel fun. First and foremost, the post-holiday hangover hit me hard. I had a hard time getting to bed last night, and this morning, I just felt out of it.

I was lucky to have my easiest class first, but that didn’t make it any more fun when my lesson turned out to have some glaring flaws. The kids were well-behaved, but it was a crummy plan, and I didn’t get through everything I wanted.

Then came 6th period. Getting kids after lunch is always a little tricky. Make it after lunch and after a long weekend, and you’re begging for trouble. It felt like no one could come into the classroom and be quiet to save their lives. We had to practice coming into the classroom, something that hadn’t happened in weeks.

But the real issue was AM. The same AM who said she hated me, who had been demonstrating some improvement. She didn’t follow a dumb direction early in the class to put down some paper. When I repeated the direction, she did eventually put it down, but got in a parting shot – something muttered under her breath. I decided to let it slide until the end of class.

When I approached her about it, she immediately went to, “Now it’s time for English class. You can make me miss your class, but not English class.” I had a decision to make, and I decided to stand my ground. I told her I didn’t think that was appropriate, and asked her to take a seat. She did, but at this point, blatant disrespect was all but inevitable. When I asked what was wrong with the way she was speaking to me, she said, with some cross between pride and sass, “I’m being rude.” I said, “I can’t have that,” and motioned her to follow me to the office.

She tried one more under the breath, “You’re so stupid.” I wheeled around and told her, firmly, that was the kind of behavior that would keep getting her in trouble. Side note: That’s pretty much exactly what I said, and it made me feel as if I was 65. She said, “Well, you’re the one who keeps getting me in trouble, so thank you.” With emphasis on “thank you.” As usual, I couldn’t reach mom. She’ll be spending recess with me tomorrow.

In short, last period went well. And after school, four kids came to re-take quizzes. But still, this is one of those days where the 10 percent that didn’t go my way occupies a disproportionate fraction of my mind. I feel tired, and I’m frustrated by AM – the one student in 98 who disrespected me today. I could use an easy day tomorrow to get back on track.

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