Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day #16

My room is a swamp. The posters are curled up, the books are pruned and collapsed upon themselves, the student work is damp. Even though the temps were 20 degrees cooler today the humidity has been 100% and it feels like Louisiana in there. I swelter all day. I have trench foot, jock itch, and it wouldn't surprise me if malaria was coming down the pike. The kids drink two giant cooler bottles full of Deer Park each period. We sweat with three fans blasting damp warm air pointlessly around the room. The clock droops on the wall like a rotten fruit, persistently reminding us how much time we have left in our steam bath.

A long-time vet at my new school took over 2nd period from me today. She's great, and very professional, and has wonderful ideas. I was excited to see what she had to offer, because I've never had such support at any other school. I think it's fantastic that I get coaching and that other teachers with years of experience are willing to come in and model lessons for me. The sixth graders were rude to her, disruptive, chatty, and whiny. She kept her game face and worked them well, but she's used to third graders and the middle schoolers are relentless. They prevented her from completing her workshop, and though she never once showed it in front of them, she was frustrated at the end of the period when we had a moment to chat. I still think I picked up some really good ideas, and hope I expressed my appreciation adequately. She observed the class yesterday as they did much the same thing to me. Our lesson went great until a fire alarm, and then I never got them back after the drill was over.

A couple of true chuckleheads who've proved unmanageable have finally caught the attention of the administrators. One of them chased the Big Cheese with a clipboard when she took him to the office for threatening to shoot a girl and calling her a "stripper bitch." I'd been sitting this child at my feet in the front of the room and standing on his goddam pants leg to keep him from attacking other kids and rummaging randomly through files and cabinets, so I'm not sad to see him taken out. At my old schools these kids would have been shut back in my room to stir up trouble--not here. They are suspended. If a child who needs meds doesn't take them, the parent is called and told to remove the child. They don't simply blame the teacher for poor management skills, as I've seen done in the past.

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