i haven't written for so long because i had nothing much good to report. i last wrote that i wanted to be nicer this school year, loosen up a bit because behavior management is not an issue for me. well, be careful what you wish for. i have been the meanest teacher on the 2nd grade so far this year. i am my own worst nightmare, sr. francis, the meanest 5th grade math teacher (i'm assuming she had no vocation to the religious life or to teaching and that's what made her such a flaming bitch - honestly, if i could get my hands on her today ...).
i realize that this year, out of 18 students, 8 of them are total space cases. they just stare into space with their mouths open, not doing anything, totally zoned out. usually i have one or two kids like that, this year it's literally half the class. i teach esl but it's not a language issue, these kids understand english just fine, they've been at school in nyc since kindergarten. they understand me, they just aren't paying any attention. as a result i spend the most part of my day keeping these kids on task. simple acts like opening their notebooks and writing their headings take a great deal of time and focus. for some of them i have an idea of what is going on, for the majority of them i don't know why they are so tuned out.
i told one girl the other day that she had better start paying attention in class and showing me that she is a serious student because when she grows up a prince is not going to marry her and give her all the money she wants for doing nothing. instead, she will have to get a job, everybody has to work, and she will never go to college and get a good job if she doesn't know that 5 + 3= 8 because she has not been paying one bit of attention in math class. i told her that being cute does not get you that far in life, you have to know things, things that you learn in school.
i am noticing that when i get annoyed and yell at the kids that i am saying to them things that the nuns said to me when i was a girl. i honestly think that there are some depths of emotion for me to plummet here. maybe this third year of teaching for me is going to be about learning about my own childhood and becoming more compassionate towards my students. i certainly feel like i'm not being compassionate right now.
i'm focusing my prayer life and recovery work around my issues with certain children and my own childhood issues. i need to remember that god is in charge of my classroom and that i am but a trusted servant. it's easy to cross the line from organizing the class and creating structure to becoming a bossy, controll freak!
please pray for me - and my poor students - as i embark on this journey.