I haven’t been doing such a good job lately of keeping this journal up to date, but I see that people are still checking in, so an update is in order.
Most of my days since coming back haven’t been too eventful. I think my biggest problem lately is that I’m struggling to attain the level of respect I should be receiving from my students. I’ve been hammering on them. My homeroom class has been the toughest to deal with. They’re still super snotty, but I think I’m making some progress. I’ve had to make a whole bunch of phone calls, punish the entire class as a group, and be extremely vigilant. It’s been hard, but I hope it will start paying dividends. They need the biggest kick in the butt. My interim assessment scores show that all my classes are performing dismally. But my homeroom significantly lags the other three. I’m hoping that when/if I can finally break them, we can start moving them forward. I am excited that Ms. Cleveland, our most experienced teacher and our best at relating to the students, will teach them every day, because she will hopefully have a big impact in getting them into shape.
One thing I’m concerned about coming up is that a large number of my students are missing very major assignments (i.e. tests and quizzes). I’ve gone out of my way to post due dates and past due notices for make ups, and still, most of missing assignments are still outstanding. It’s so frustrating. On one hand, I do not want to baby these kids. They need to learn to take care of their own responsibilities, and learn that there are major consequences if they don’t. On the other hand, some of these kids are already on the verge of being lost.
Another thing that is a major concern to me is the ebb and flow of individual students. It’s amazing how far some kids have come over the year. I can think of several kids who started the year off severely behind, completely unmotivated, and/or totally unmanageable and have turned their acts around. But there are a handful of kids who have moved in the opposite direction. I can think of three, all in my homeroom, who started off way ahead but have really been crashing and burning for the past couple of months. They are supposed to be three of our best, and right now, everybody is at a loss as to what to do with them. I talk to each of their parents just about weekly, to little effect. We’re all busting our butts to get them to stop throwing their lives away, but at this point it’s on them. First semester is about done, and they’re going to have to lay in the bed they’ve made for themselves.
On the bright side, January is glorious: winter break, two weeks of school, 2 days off for MLKJ Day and Inauguration, exams this week, and then professional development days next week. Supposedly, I’ll be paying dearly in February and March. Days off will be fewer and far between, Hopkins will be back in session, and HSA’s will be becoming more and more urgent. I’m enjoying the slower pace, but also trying to buckle down as best I can.