Day 10 (Friday, Sept. 9)

Payday! Cha-ching! At least, that's what I thought before I saw my check and remembered that I'm a first year teacher in a city where people in the food service industry start out taking more home than I do.

Oh well. Ostensibly, any money at all is good, and I'll take what I can get, considering I have no other choice. (And before anybody gives me that "three month vacation" crap, for the record: I teach at a year-round school, and I am on an extended contract (meaning that instead of nine weeks off, I get four. So que cerres la boca). Anyway, enough bitching, and onto our feature for today...

the bad

I'm with an alternative liscensure program called [redacted]. I'll talk more about that later, but anyway, one of the higher-ups came in and observed me this morning. He's a perfectly nice, supportive, helpful guy, but I've been flat-on-my-back sick for the last couple days, and (a) didn't prepare very well for class that day and (b) had no energy when he arrived. I can say without any measure of exaggeration that my absolute worst teaching so far this year took place during those ten minutes that he was in the room. Nothing major, just me being boring and pedantic, relatively ineffective from a classroom management standpoint, and dragging along through the lesson.

Needless to say, things picked up dramatically after he left. Isn't that always the way it goes?

the ugly

One of my kids, Duane (not his real name, mind you), is particularly difficult to work with. He is very oppositional and tests the boundries at every opportunity. I took him aside today and we talked for about twenty minutes about "real life" and consequences verses when you're young and you get in trouble at school. I told him that people go to jail for taking things that don't belong to them when they're adults, and he seemed really surprised. At any rate, he ended up telling me about some pretty horrific domestic disputes he witnessed when he was younger. It makes you think--no matter how stressful life may be on my end, with all of the stupid bureaucratic bullshit that gets in the way of everything, difficulties are indeed relative--and I am pretty thankful that mine are largely logistical and not life-impairing. Anyway.

[UPDATE]I talked to this kid's mom this weekend--just wanted to introduce myself, start the school year off on the right foot--and I learned that this same evening, Duane has seriously injured another kid with a pellet gun (possibly accidentallly). His court date is coming up. We'll just add this to the list of things to factor into his behavioral patterns this week...

the good

I've implemented two new classroom management procedures in two of my classes. They're working well, at least for the first day. They involve the simple threat of taking time out of recess if too much time is wasted during class--one tally mark on the board = one minute, arbitrarily meted out by me. It's amazing how attentive kids can be when they try...!

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