The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 04 2013

Please, Please Let Us Finish With Our Best

Day 166: We had indoor recess today, due to rain. I had to tell five girls to get into the classroom three times; they finally went in when the building sub walked by and said, “Do what you’re told.” So, you know, that had me in a good mood, the whole not-following-my-directions thing.

TC was the only one of the five to show a hint of attitude about being made to come inside. Minutes later, she asked me if she could leave to get water. I had just sent a student, so I said she had to wait. As I finished that sentence, she tried to push by me into the hallway. I quasi-exploded with an “Are you kidding me?!?” and sent her to the office.

I found her and took her into the library, which was empty. I tried to ask what was inappropriate about her actions; I asked her if she respected me; I asked her if she thought I trusted her. She refused to look me in the eye, and largely repeated, “I don’t know.” Uninterested in having a debate, and lacking the energy to pry something out of her, I simply said that I was going to call her mom the next day at noon – she had one day to fix things. Before she came back, I had her write me a note finishing the sentence, “I promise that tomorrow I will …”

When she came back, she was crying, which of course means a flock of girls came over to comfort her. While I’d love to pretend I don’t care, the idea of five girls all together talking about how mean I am just kind of sucks.

The day wasn’t all bad. A handful of folks in my second period class pulled it together after a rough Friday, highlighted by a girl whom I’d been worried about lately letting a 4th grader who was in the room to take a break do class work with her. It’s just that I spend so much time with my homeroom, and I want things to end as positively as possible. We’ve spent so much time together, and it kills me to see some of my kids not be their best as the year draws to a close. I get it – I’m tired, and I feel the negativity, too. But please, please, let us finish the year with something close to our best.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
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