Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day #31

Told the kids today: don't get on my nerves. I'm not giving out any verbal warnings. You bug me, you break the rules and procedures, I am pulling my phone out and calling your house.

I didn't have to call anyone first period. Second period I made three calls in the first 20 minutes. Mommy #3 answered. Mommy #3 said "Can I speak to her?" Mommy #3 did lots of audible screaming over my phone. Chastened child facing a four-day weekend inside with no TV or video games helped get the message across. No more problems that period. Last period, two calls in ten minutes, then absolute calm.

The problem with this kind of schtick is you have to use it sparingly. You use it too much, and parents block your number. But it is effective sometimes when you are trying to create a persona, which is what new teachers spend much of their time doing, if my experience is any indication. I watch long-timers transform every day from cheery, bubbly, gleefully silly people into scowling pumped up ram-rod straight goons and banshees. Then, immediately following detention, their faces, postures, and moods completely revert. Everyone with any cred has a "game face." I've been wearing one all week, with some success. My biggest problem is the kids are keen and they know I'm really a big push-over at heart.

Tomorrow and Friday: PD days. Thursday is full of meetings, and if you look at Dore's etchings for the Divine Comedy, you'll find several terrifyingly exact representations of Baltimore City Schools professional development meetings. Friday, however, is unmarred by scheduled events. I'm counting on some room time to get my filing done, some planning done, and the re-situating of my expanded classroom library needs to be finished ASAP.

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