It actually seems as though my days are flying by as the end of the year is drawing near, and I can finally feel safe to say that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It’s sad to say, but in this fourth quarter, I’ve finally found a groove that lets me get my job done without the huge burden I’ve felt for most of my teaching experience. Could it be that I have actually figured it all out and am considering another year in teaching? Heck no. I’ve just found new ways of meeting what I consider to be my minimum requirement–that come class time, I need to have a coherent plan to teach the kids to do something new.
I have learned that all the crap they tell us we have to do just isn’t necessary to achieve the results I’m achieving. I could be working 3 times as hard, but for what? Frankly, I’m happy with my results. I’ve got kids who couldn’t multiply last year doing algebra problems that take almost a full page of work. I’ve got special ed kids correcting my mistakes on the board. What is working is that I’m breaking every lesson down to the basics, I’m putting huge emphasis on students understanding the notation of algebra, and I’m being an absolute dick (excuse my language) in insisting on maximal standards for completion of classwork.
My class is not exciting, but I firmly believe that it’s time for these kids to understand that to get what they want, they have to work for it, and life isn’t just playtime. The kids hate how nit-picky I am, but they are stepping up. And the next day’s lesson goes so much better when they learned the background material from the day before thoroughly and correctly.
It hasn’t all been fun in games. Things seem to run in cycles. For a few days at a time, the kids will be motivated and so productive. Then for a few days, they will be juvenile and rowdy, and I have to fight for every second of their attention. When that happens, it makes me want to choke someone. This past Monday, most of my 2nd period class had to take the AP exam, and I only had 6 kids in my room. Those 6 kids were off the hook. They cursed, bickered, talked about wildly inappropriate subjects, wouldn’t sit in their seats, sang, wouldn’t put their phones away, wouldn’t do the drill or the work, and were just all around jerks. When that happens, for all that I’ve learned, I don’t know what to do with them. Fortunately, Monday seemed to be the end of an approximately 3 week streak of generally insane behavior, and the rest of the week was pretty painless. Let’s hope this next week stays that way.
If I can make it through this week, HSA testing is next week, then two weeks of class, then finals, then done!