The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 30 2013

Monday Fail

Day 142: I’m going to admit this from the get-go: This is a whiny post.

I had next-to-no teaching to do today. On Mondays, I teach twice. One of those two times was going to be spent at the back of my room with my principal, observing a teacher hoping to have my job next year. Perfect conditions to accomplish the mountain of work on my plate – namely a 10-page grad school paper and an activity to classify organisms into kingdoms.

However, as the great line goes: “Want to tell G-d a joke? Make a plan.”

First, my homeroom partner is out sick. I discover this, unfortunately, at 7:50, when I arrive with 20 sixth graders in tow back at my homeroom. I notice her coat is not there, so I check my phone, and sure enough, I see, “Sick! Sorry!” Now, dealing with my nut-ball homeroom on Monday morning – when they’ve had two days away from school and its various routines – is challenging enough with a partner. Dealing with this insanity alone is just a lot to ask.

Fortunately, I can manage 11-year-olds – even nutty ones. It took some taking away of recess time from my chatty boys – and the threat of further penalties – but we did survive. Second period, my only actual teaching of the day, went fine.

Then, however, some misadventures occurred. Minus my homeroom partner, who doubles as my lunch and recess duty partner on Mondays, I largely flew solo. Try to imagine 100 11-year-olds who haven’t seen each other all weekend. Now add food. A handful of girls in 6B called me over to show me that they had poured strawberry milk into the school lunch of hot dog slices in baked beans, part of their new show – shouted in unison – “What’s That Crap?!?” I nearly uttered the Roger Murtaugh “I’m too old for this shit.”

Getting my homeroom up from lunch is a chore. They regularly want to sit and chat for an extra one, two, five minutes. When I finally extricated them from the cafeteria, I got to have fun keeping them quiet while also trying to help the prospective teacher set up shop. To their credit, once class started, my kids were fairly attentive and on-task.

At the close of the sample lesson, my students left, and I rejoiced in my imminent two preps to get my grad school paper done. That is, until another teacher let me know he had a meeting, and I would be covering his class. This was because, of course, the building sub would be covering my homeroom partner’s performing arts class, meaning an additional sub was needed. Oh joy. I thus spent eighth period hanging out with eight fourth graders, trying to write my paper on social bookmarking technology while listening to them craft stories about princesses, ninjas and Taylor Lautner.

I’ll skip afternoon homeroom (which was only slightly easier than morning homeroom to manage), homework lab (which is irritating to deal with), and even my grad school course on teaching English language learners (which, thankfully, ends in two weeks). I’ll skip all of that and just reflect on the fact that it’s 12:13 am. I have not finished my lesson plan for tomorrow. My paper is not done, either. Nor my presentation for tomorrow’ grad school course.

Now, in all honesty, I wasn’t really efficient tonight. I watched about 10 previews for upcoming summer films (woo-hoo Iron Man 3!). I checked Facebook and more times than I care to admit. Even writing this, I suppose, is not the best use of my time when I know I’ll be awake in under five hours.

Still, when you leave home at 6:30 am, and return home at 8 pm, you need decompression time. And at this point, watching the trailer for “Kickass 2” is the minimum decompression I deserve. The big break, of course, is just around the corner – less than 40 days away. It can’t come soon enough. Until then, as I will tell myself 100 times this week, it’s just time to suck it up, and do the best I can to power through.

About this Blog

Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

Subscribe to this blog (feed)