There are three rules I try to keep in mind as a City school teacher:
1) Never take it personally.
2) Never take it home with you.
3) You can't reach all the kids.
(and unofficial rule #4--don't lose your sense of humor)
I broke or forgot all three (four) of these yesterday, and had a miserable stress-filled 24 hours. I had to do a lot of breath-watching last night in order to get back to the basic truth: I cause most of my own suffering.
When I finally got my shit together I decided to have a glass of wine, and the cork was rotted out and it was my last bottle, so I never got to the wine. I had a good long chuckle over that and felt much better.
So, yesterday--I'll never speak of it again. But today was better. I was back on the horse, banging shit on the walls, rolling right up in young thuggish grills and saying "you got a problem?", calling houses, using my timer, bustin' out rhymes from Biggie's Ready to Die. I will do what I have to do to get respect. I am getting respect from about 60% of the kids now. I won't get them all, but if I can teach some I'll be happy.
I wish you all could meet Gwynn Falls, my most nuttiest 7th grader. She is way too grown for her grade, and is always talking about swallowing sperm and anal sex. I have actual children in my class--we're talking Peanuts characters with braids and beads in their hair--who have to listen to stories about butt-fucking because when I tell Gwynn to stop she flips me off; when I call her parents they say "call the police"; and when I call the police they say "if she ain't hurtin' no one, don't call us." I can't just put her out the class either. So I'm stuck--I can't compete with the ass-fucking stories. Business letter format just don't compare. In fact, if I had a choice as a seventh grader I would have rather heard about butt-fucking--in fact, if I had a choice between a business letter format conference and butt-fucking story conference as a professional development this coming Friday, I'd go to the latter, no contest. I can't compete.
But Gwynn started doing a table-dance strip tease today in last period. The police came for that. She'll be back tomorrow I'm sure.