Wednesday, November 10, 2010

today i cried

i'm used to being the best at what i do in the school.

i'm used to being the best at engaging the special ed classes every year.

i'm used to having the coolest lesson plans.

i'm used to the kids loving my class.

but right now i'm a failure.

my ICT class has been slipping away all semester. i falsely thought they were improving last week, but that was a joke. this week i have been dreading teaching them. yesterday they were awful. i put my all into a fabulous lesson for them today. i lost them before they even entered the room.

it's not about my lessons anymore. they have no respect for me. they hate my class. they purposely try to upset me. i never let them see how i feel though. as the dean i can give them all the suspensions and detentions i want, but i refuse to use that as a crush. i've doled out a couple here and there and they just get mad at me and shut down for days.

i've tried to build relationships outside of class with many of the students. i always smile and greet them in the hallways. i always praise positive behavior. i write lessons that are engaging, motivating, and address their kinesthetic and academic needs. but i can't even begin my lessons most days.

i feel like a failure right now and it's pretty shitty. i'm used to being the best. I think the fact that it's still bothering me at 12:30am tells me that my job is consuming too much of my life. And that i rely on my professional success as a source of positive self esteem, when really i should be looking for other areas of my life with which to feel successful and satisfied.

i am thankful that i have the wherewithal to pick up the pieces and come up with an action plan so that this doesn't get the best of me.

i am thankful that i have an awesome co-teacher who knew not to step in and let me fight my own battle, as this is the only way to maintain consistent classroom management.

i am thankful that this awesome co-teacher has some great ideas that he's going to help me implement beginning Friday morning.

i kept my composure during class but i felt the tears coming on. the students left and i held it in. i took deep breaths, and i let the feeling go away. but then when my co-teacher and i were reflecting on the horror show that was our classroom, i started to feel shaky again. he mentioned all the other responsibilities I have in the school that take up my time, and that I have two children, and that he understands how pressed i am for time.

suddenly, the thought of all the responsibility came caving in on me and the tears started flowing. for the first time in 2.5 years of teaching, i cried on the job. i think i cried out of desperation, and out of the realization that i just am not doing my job. not at all.

like i said before, i have a plan. i don't know what's in store for friday, but it's time for no holds bar classroom management. it's time to start over. friday will be day 1 of our new and improved zero tolerance classroom. i know this sounds like a strict disciplinarian environment, but that's only a small part of it. we have a lot of systems that will need to be put into place and a lot of work to do before friday, but i think things will get better.

but for right now, i still feel like shit.

i also have an observation with this class friday morning. the day after a horror story, on a friday after a day off from school, first period with stragglers who won't get the message as easily. i'm not sure how to write up this lesson plan. our mini-lesson will consist of discipline contracts and explaining our new routines and how class will function from now on. then i will allow them to engage in some group work that explores the pythagorean theorem, as we've been *trying* to learn for 3 days.

it won't be what the AP is looking for. but there's not point in trying to give a conventional math lesson when it will just crash and burn with these kids. i just hope the plan works. no backing down.