Over the course the past couple of weeks, I have been having the strangest anxiety attacks. Granted, I have had them before I set off on my teaching career. But this new round of anxiety is hitting me at all hours of the day and night. I've been waking up in the middle of the night, covered in sweat, and fixated on the problems that I'm encountering at school. Even getting in my car and driving to school has been fraught with overwhelming dread for what the day has in store.
I'm sure that a large part of my generalized anxiety is premised on a few discreet factors:
1. My class of all boys wholly monopolizes my time. Between behavioral interventions, attempting to lesson plan for amazingly diverse learning abilities, and dealing with the day to day shit of writing up their infractions, calling homes, and consulting with the support team, I never have a chance to sit down and actually do any work during my preps. Moby (not his real name), the student that I kicked out of class last Friday for his prolonged refusal to take his assigned seat, pulled the same crap on Tuesday. I'm done with this crazy insubordinate behavior and had him removed again. The security officer looks at me like I'm crazy, but I can't get a thing done while he is in my room, and I'm not negotiating with a 13 year old. Now, I know the school is not pleased with this, and I have informed everyone that "this is just about taking a damn seat; no more, no less; child is welcome back in my classroom at anytime when he can follow this simple directive." The school psychologist (who I love) told me to have him sent to his counselor or her. Believe me, I care greatly about this group of boys, even with all of their dysfunctions and crude behavior. But the constant physical fighting and boisterous behavior is grating on my last nerve. I have students that need intensive remediation, and I need to have the class in some degree of order. When Moby is gone, I get some great work out of these kids. I really think that some of my lowest functioning have real potential for improvement for the year.
2. Lesson planning is terribly difficult when you have students that are pre-literate sitting next to students that are at grade level. I'm now at the point in Social Studies that I have to PowerPoint every lesson, with lots of visuals and read-alouds, in an effort to reach all the levels in my class. PP's take a LOT of time. As for ELA, it's even more complicated. And in that regard, I'm all over the place in terms of material. These kids have gotten pretty good at hiding their disabilities, and even though it's mid-October, I'm just getting a handle on assessing their strengths and weaknesses.
3. Dealing with my para-pros is getting tense. I'm not comfortable being their direct supervisor, even though I've been directed to by the administration. It's a crappy job in some cases, and I admire those paras that rise to the occasion. However, I have to start being a little more proactive in setting my expectations. One of the 1:1 paras decided on Tuesday to interject and instruct, more than frequently, during a guided reading. Not cool.
Tomorrow is Friday, and while I love the holidays, it really interferes with lesson planning. I think a shrink visit is in order. I'm drowning and not wearing a life vest.