Thursday, October 06, 2005

And it all falls to pieces...

After a two day break, one would think that I would have had a relatively high degree of stamina for today.

No such luck. After teaching two periods and being assigned a coverage, I was exhausted. And after my lunch period, I had my class of boys for three straight periods. Given the behavioral problems with this bunch, I should have had a more tightly scripted lesson plan for the day. These boys simply cannot handle two plus hours of instruction, and I know this. Given these circumstances, I generally attempt to ameliorate the extended time together with an appropriately selected educational video. And I do all the suggested instructional techniques. I stop the video often, ask lots of questions of the students, and often rewind to reinforce information that is presented.

But last night I was just too unmotivated to schlep to my public library to find a tape, and opted to ask whether I could take the boys into the courtyard to use a basketball to dribble out syllables and do spelling drills. I've been using "Month to Month Phonics" regularly in my class, and thought that this would be a decent way of letting my students with ADD/ADHD some physical relief while joining some instruction. I couldn't even find my AP for permission, so I asked Ms. T, my principal. She agreed, but kind of looked at me strangely when presented with the request.

Mind you, I have the highest percentage of illiterate students in the school in my classroom. Yet the powers at Tweed have declared that there are already too many Wilson Reading Program trained teachers at my school, and that I am ineligible for literacy training. WTF???

Of course my plans were for naught, as the courtyard fences were open to allow trucks in. So no going outside. The boys were literally jumping out of their skin, given that they had to work on writing a narrative essay for their promotional folders. Things would have gone much better if my students could actually write more than a three word sentence. However, I HAVE to have these essays for their promotional folders as mandated by the school. By the time that they had written a few sentences, all the while leaving their desks, threatening one another, throwing books at each other, and banging and hollering in their seats... they were nuts.


Tomorrow is a new day, and my kiddos will be receiving individual daily rubrics of expected conduct and classwork. Immediate accountability. I will also be devising individual detention slips. I'm not a fan of detention, as it eats up my lunch and dismissal, but consequences have to regularly flow if I'm to put an end to this insanity.

The highlight of my day: My docile student with a HEAVY West Indian accent and exceptionally deep voice, who generally never speaks out in my class, finally snapped. After another student was harassing him, he stood from his chair, and in the most bizarre and freakish manner uttered, "Fuck you, you mommy fucking motherfucker." And then tried to strangle his opponent with his do-rag. CRAZY!

I can just see the headline now. "STUDENT DEAD. STRANGLED BY DO-RAG. TEACHER RECEIVES LETTER IN HIS FILE". Sheeeshhh... hopefully it would just be a letter. A letter of termination.

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