Well, it took me about 24 hours to cool off from Friday, and frankly, it’s not just school that had me riled up. I’m feeling a lot more positive and purposeful about my situation. This weekend, I am going to take care of some major tasks that should hopefully greatly reduce my levels of stress.
I’ve learned a number of things this week. First, is to avoid at all costs any back and forth conversation with students. My favorite phrase has become, “That’s a question/discussion we’ll have to save for after class time. Right now, we’re discussing the rational numbers.” Very useful for deflecting off-topic questions. If given license, students will complain and bicker about everything. The solution is to tolerate none of it. Secondly and somewhat related, meticulous notes must be kept about everything that happens in class, especially concerning behavior that merits consequences. When a student or parent asks why they were assigned detention, it is extremely helpful to have written down the specific offenses and the times at which they occurred. They will argue, but all I have to do is read my log and tell them that that’s the end of the discussion.
This week, I taught lessons that weren’t a part of my units and gave an informal pretest. Both experiences were quite valuable, because they let me see exactly what issues need to be explicitly addressed before we start doing real lessons and tests. And believe me, there are plenty.
Anyhow, I think that next week, many of the loose ends will begin to come together. Plus, it’s a 4 day week, and that’s definitely something to celebrate.