Do you remember that scene in Lord of the Rings, when Frodo and Bilbo Baggins were hanging out together just before Frodo begins the journey? Bilbo sees the ring hanging around Frodo's neck and suddenly snarls like a monster and freaks everyone out who is watching the movie? That was me today. Okay....maybe not quite, but there is a monster within me.
I am working in a very challenging school right now. It is a step inside of Greece from the Roch City School District. Just a few blocks away from the school is RCSD. There are many behavior issues. Many of the kids are non-compliant...(which is a nice way of saying they are plain disobedient). I think many of them must come from very difficult family lives. I have seen children in other districts who are just as disobedient...but there are far fewer of them. The sheer number of them in this district is very dismaying. I had a first grade class that had behavior that was just unbelievable. I absolutely lost it. I can really have a very scary angry voice sometimes...luckily it is a voice that does not come out often. How did they respond? I DO think I scared them enough into a behavioral change...but I don't think it was effective overall. They crept into poor behavior again as the hour dragged on. I just don't want to turn into the nasty dragon librarian.
The Kindergarten class that came next is a high needs classroom. Several students have Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIP). I could barely read the picture book story to them. I actually had to simplify it in order to shorten it...I was losing their attention and needed to move on to something else. I felt like I was going batty. However, something happened during the story that made me stop and think...what is life like for some of these kids? It was a simple question that was asked by a little girl named Brooke. In the story the word 'husband' was mentioned. She said, "What's a husband?" She was not asking this to be disruptive. She genuinely wanted to know. I thought it was sad that she wouldn't know what a husband is...I suppose she could come from a home where English is not the primary language so that could be a factor.
I was dreading my next class. A second grade class with several more BIPs. I knew it was not going to be a picnic. I went to the door to get them a few minutes late because of problems moving the Kindergarten group out.I was greeted by a woman who was subbing for the class. She told me that she had had a nightmare of an experience subbing for their class and that about half of the students were taken to the office by the principal. In walked about 10 kids. I know that made life quite a bit easier for me, but even so...they were not very well-behaved. I was able to manage them, but was amazed that the "best" behaved students of the class were the ones sitting in from of me.
Anyway...I am going to need a lot more wisdom and tricks up my sleeve in order to manage classes better. I feel like I am student teaching all over again...but this time without a mentoring teacher sitting in the same room. Ironically I could have used Mrs. R's presence. Didn't I tell you that my appreciation of her would grow by leaps and bounds?
I was thinking about how only a week ago I was subbing in an elementary school in Webster and I had 2nd graders all day long. I loved the entire day. The kids were so good! The biggest challenge of the day was a few kids talking out of turn. I remember thinking, "I love second graders." Just 9 days later and I am in an entirely different world.