Random Notions and Stories of Teaching

May 12, 2006

Failure

Hang on...this one is a dilly, but I needed to get it out. Thanks to whoever keeps reading. Hehe

Today is the second day (in three years) that I have come home from school and burst into tears. Coincidentally, it happened after days at the same school. Allow me to explain today for you.


Yesterday, I arrived home from a preschool assignment - fully looking forward to watching Survivor and sleeping in on Friday since I wasn't working. HH met me at the door and said, "Hey, I saw you picked up a job for Friday! That's great!"

What? No. I didn't pick up a job for Friday. Hmm, maybe someone at Favorite School asked for me and secretary just put me in for the job (since I told her that was ok to do). No...it's for Dreaded School. The school that sparked Crying Incident #1 and where I get the feeling the principal doesn't care for me. The school I try to avoid.

I never agreed to a Friday job. So now I am mad
, no, I'm pissed. I decide to suck it up and focus on the fact that it is more money in my pocket.

I arrive at Dreaded School today chipper and still a little miffed on the inside, but I cover it well and am professional. I sign my paper in the office and while I'm signing the other teacher for my grade level (almost my teaching buddy) begins to ask a question about Absent Teacher. Secretary shushes her and gestures at me. Once I leave the room, they begin to talk.

Fine. Whatever.

I enter my room and find that Absent Teacher has been out for at least 4 days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and now Friday). In those four days, the children have had 3 subs. The only reason one stayed two days is because she is a permanent sub and doesn't have a choice what she accepts and doesn't accept (now that I think of it - neither did I this time). I scan their notes and find words like "handful", "lost recess", etc. etc. and I know it is going to be one of those days.

Finally, the kids start arriving and I quickly see this is going to be a challenge. That's fine - I'm up for a challenge. What a class! They weren't malicious - they just would not shut up. They were rude, interrupted, out of their seats - you name it, they did it (short of being mean to me which I won't take). During their music time, Partner Teacher told me since the weather wasn't very good instead of me keeping the kids who do not get to participate in Friday Recognition and sending the rest to her, that I should just keep them all inside and make those students put their heads down.

Somehow, I made it to lunch with my sanity. During lunch there was a staff lunch in the library. I decided I would go if someone invited me - otherwise, I had papers to grade. Luckily, Partner Teacher invited me. So I went in, grabbed a plate and sat down. By myself. And no one spoke to me.

I left after 10 minutes to go grade papers. Why waste my time?

After lunch was just like before lunch - crazy! Finally we made it to the last 20 minutes of the day or Friday Recognition*. I let the five children who hadn't given me a bit of trouble to pick first. Then I allowed the children who really didn't deserve playtime go. There were only four students who missed out. All for things that had happened earlier in the week. Three of them took it well. One little boy (who had been so good for me all day) did not handle it well. He cried. He wailed. He screamed. I ignored him, so did the other kids. He threw his supply box** on the ground. He threw a book at another student. He threw scissors. I put him in the hall for the safety of the other kids.

We have five minutes left of FR when Music Teacher enters the room. She hands me a pointer which one of the girls had taken and was apparently misusing and proceeds to make the following statement to the class:

"Boys and girls, you are very lucky that I know Mrs. is an excellent substitute and that you are a chatty class and that Principal was busy. Another teacher just came down to the office and asked what in the world was going on in here. I said I would come up and check it out."

Thinly veiled threat or innocent comment - I don't know but I was immediately upset. Luckily, I held it together through dismissal and the drive home. However, I was just so mortified...angry...livid...sad - there is just not one word to sum it up. A colleague tattled on me. Good gravy. To add insult to injury, as I was getting the boy out of the hall, I saw that Partner Teacher had taken her kids outside. Thanks a lot.

I graded papers after school for 45 minutes before I decided I needed out of that school. Then I said goodbye to the secretary (because I can be professional even if she can't) and got the hell out of there.

HH could tell I was upset when I walked in the door and being the guy he is he immediately wanted to know what happened. I didn't want to relive it. The less I said the more worried he got until finally I told him, "Honey...I just need someone, anyone to be quiet right now." He shut right up and just hugged me. Cuz he's wonderful like that.

* Friday Recognition - Each student starts the week with 3 stars. Throughout the week they can lose stars for unsigned planners, forgetting homework, or behavior problems. On Friday they get 20 minutes of play time or a movie or some special activity if they haven't lost all 3 stars. Her star system was very confusing to mark so I wasn't 100% sure who should be missing out. Furthermore, I am punishing kids for things they did earlier in the week.

** Supply Box - This 3rd grade classroom does not have desks. Students sit at tables and put all their supplies (folders, pencils, crayons, and silent reading books) into a blue tub. Some students have just that tub neatly on their table. While other students have papers all over the floor, the table, and their cubby for science and social studies books. I hate that they don't have desks. It makes the classroom incredibly hard to maneuver when there are 25 wiggly bodies everywhere.

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