Day 15 (Friday)

the bad

Who bad? That's right, I'm bad. Yesterday, I went to a "New Teacher Training" that essentially rehashed a whole bunch of Harry Wongisms. (For those who don't know, Harry Wong is one of the education gurus of our time; his mantra is that discipline problems may be neutralized via proper, specific procedures--for everything: entering, exiting, getting up to sharpen a pencil, getting up as a group, going potty, etc. So the thinking goes, if students know exactly what is expected of them at all times, they will not be as inclined to disbehave and are generally more happy and compliant. Anyway, everyone is enamored with Harry Wong, and he is quite good. So during the training, when I wasn't sleeping, I actually took some time to consider whether my procedures were sufficient. After some internal debating ("how can I teach a multi-step procedure to a kid who can't even remember any of the four rules we've spent all week on?"), I decided that, especially when dealing with kids who are emotionally disturbed, structure is a blessing. So today, I taught several new procedures detailing how we would now do things in my room.

The first one seems simple enough: how to enter my room and get to work. (Steps: (1) walk calmly and quietly in the hallway. (2) Upon entering the Greenhouse (my room), go directly to your desk. Do not talk or touch anyone else along the way. (3) Gently pull out your chair. (4) Sit down. (5) Look up at the board. (6) Follow the directions on the board.) Unfortunately, it took them about an hour to master Step 1. This was finally accomplished by taking about half of the group outside, marching them around and around one of the backstops in order to "practice" walking together the right way. "We're going to go around 50 times," I said. After about seven or so, they started to believe it. We did ten beyond that, before I paused to ask if anyone was ready to go back inside and show me how well they can enter my classroom. Lo and behold, this time, they were simply phenomenal. This was no small victory on my part--I was triumphant and exhuberant--and some of my most difficult kids now believed that I was capable of following through. So who's bad? I am. Like Michael Jackson, except that I wouldn't actually sleep with any of my kids, innocently or otherwise.

the ugly

Day two since we've seen Duane at school, and his mom still hasn't called to set up the conference that will allow him to come back. I'm worried that he's not very well supervised at home, but that's largely based on his behavior thus far--a bias to keep in check, to be sure.

the good

I still love my kids. In fact, there's a lot of really great kids who aren't in any of my classes too. I'm finding that my sense of how my day went is also related to my general optimism about my career. What I mean is, have a bad day = bad career outlooks, and have a good day = I want to stick with this forever! Today was one of those good days, so it's destined to be a good weekend.

Also, we are once again a two car household. Thank goodness for small favors.

<< Home