Wednesday, December 17, 2008

so good, but oh so bad...

So my lessons are innovative; I know that. Apparently they're so creative and appeal to so many different learning styles that I've been asked to write about two specific lessons for a national educator's magazine. But if I'm so good with my lessons, why am I finding controlling my classroom so difficult???

The teaching fellows program taught us that if you have an amazing lessons and routines in place, then the classroom management will follow. Sounds great in theory, but that is so not happening in my class! When I told this to the head of the organization I'm writing for, he told me that would be true basically anywhere else in the country, just not for our diversified and challenging student population. That's great. NYCTF *knew* I'd be teaching in the city (duh!) so why bother feeding us this bullshit?

OK, I realize I'm sounding angry, which I really am not. The lack of control really gets to me, but in truth, I wasn't 100% faithful that good lessons will always lead to a well managed classroom. My principal keeps trying to convince me that the chaos is good, that the kids are really learning. Who knows.

Speaking of innovation, today I threw a worksheet on the kids' desks and told them to take their textbooks and learn themselves since they wouldn't shut up. That's surely a new one for me! This class is a smart one though, and after 15 minutes of struggling through the work, they let me speak. Pretty good for my second easiest group of students. Seriously, I don't know how teachers handle class sizes of 34. Mine are such a struggle with only 20!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

So, out of nowhere this week, I thoroughly lost the respect, and subsequently the control of, 3 out of my 4 classes. I'm not really sure where this came from, and I'm feeling terrible about it. The students worked on a fun, creative project last week, so it wasn't my lesson. Some of them were outright saying they have no respect for me, in the middle of class.

Students came in and out of my rooms and wouldn't leave when asked to. Whole classes talked through my entire lessons. Students started yelling that our conversation was stupid. The dean was out all week on various school trips, so the one time when I called for help, no one picked up. I almost cried in class on two occasions, but I thankfully kept myself composed.

I'm supposed to teach these same kids next year and I have no desire to do so. I know next year's students aren't going to be any better, but I will be hopefully have better classroom management techniques. If these kids have zero respect for me this year, what's going to be in store for me next year?! At least I can start fresh with new kids next year.

I'm just holding out for xmas now, because I desperately need a break.