I'm learning a lot about the kids at SBCS. They are not at all dis-similar to other kids I've taught at much tougher schools. They will push your buttons, see what sets you off, and insult you directly to your face to guage your reaction. I'm taking it in stride, trying not to get all Booker T. on they asses--because that's not how we roll in this school. We talk about needs, about classroom norms, and about controlling our own behaviors and reflecting on our choices.
It's not easy.
One of my sixth grade classes is angelic and smart and three days in I can tell they need to be challenged. The work I'd planned out for an hour and fifteen minutes was done in 45 minutes and I had nothing to fall back on. The other sixth grade class is demonic and smart and it takes me and hour and fifteen minutes to get them through the prep work of the lesson. I got kids taking off their shoes, mocking my name, talking incessantly, while the rest of the class is watching and biding their time, wondering if I'll lose control. I'm supposed to council and cajole rather than shout and punish--a big change, and one I'm excited about--but it's going to take time to get used to it. I can't use the Pinch of Death or call parents in the middle of class any more. I have to get one-one-one with trouble makers and talk out what they need to get past their problems. I'm supposed to tell the class "I can wait" while they're acting a donkey. The demonic class can act a donkey a long time!
The seventh graders, who were Diggs-Johnson kids last year, are the kids I'm used to. All boys, all rowdy, all up in each others' grills all day every day, taking each others' stuff, stabbing each other with pencils, etc. I can handle that bullshit, because I've seen it before. But it's ridiculous and exhausting. We've been in school 3 days and I am tired.
This weekend I will be doing a LOT of planning. Hopefully I can get a breather to watch the Ravens. At least next Tuesday is Primary Day, so there's a bit of a break in the week for more fine-tuning.