Getting Mean (solsc2015) 18/31


Dogwoods = Spring. The dogwoods are blooming, so why isn’t it Spring Break?!


Today my lower level class exploded for a few minutes. This class is small and has a propensity for rudeness. The boys, at least. I don’t know why they think it’s okay or appropriate to act the way they do. It feels like I have to be on guard every second if I am to keep them in their seats, doing the work I assign or participating in the lesson I am teaching. The girls sit front and center and are focused, every day.

But the boys. My word. This is the second year I’ve had them in my class together. They are like a bunch of naughty (but not cute) puppies. It is a constant effort to keep them apart, doing anything at all productive. Yesterday I found a bunch of those little folded paper things that they shoot at each other, all under one boy’s desk, so today I planned to watch very carefully for who had a rubber band, who was shooting the missiles. But today I had to give them the quarterly benchmark exam, so as I prepared them for that a girl who was over at the iPad cart suddenly exploded, yelling “Stop it!! Stop throwing things at me!!!” She stomped out of the room, saying, “I have to leave for a minute.”

I snapped. I told them how inappropriate their behavior is, and how tired we all are of their games and rudeness and bullying every day. Yadayada…I hate this kind of interaction, and yet I also can only barely stand the way they act every day. It is really a dilemma. It doesn’t matter what punishment or “redirection” I come up with, nothing changes with them. Seating charts, assigning campus cleanup, suspension from my class, calling parents, none of it makes a whit of difference. Only one thing works, and that is iffy…

I’m going to try inventing a super-interesting segment of lessons.(I know, doh!!) Last year I decided we’d do Snake Week when the behavior became intolerable. I made a unit of all things snake oriented. Articles, stories, videos, whatever I could come up with. (It’s in a Blendspace, if anyone would like to try it in your classroom!!) It was magic. These guys were so fascinated they forgot to misbehave. Earlier this year we did units on Orcas and weird animals. That held them pretty well. Forget about literature that other people their age read. They just aren’t having it. Maybe it’s  because they really can’t have it – they just are not ready for it academically.

Today one of these boys came and told me that he was pretty mad. He had made up a six-week old assignment and I’d told him his grade would come up and it didn’t. So why should he do any more work if what I told him wasn’t even true? It took me way too long to explain that making up old work is something you do outside the classroom, as homework. You don’t do it instead of the current work. He had missed 50 points of new work while he made up 40 points of old work. That math completely evaded him. He just insisted I’d lied to him. Sigh.

When is Spring Break again?  In the meanwhile, I wonder what could compare to Snake Week? Hm..



14 thoughts on “Getting Mean (solsc2015) 18/31

  1. MaryHelen says:

    Hang in there. I so appreciate how you are trying to reach them. I use the “I notice…” statements a lot with these types of kids. Not as a punishment, but rather trying to connect with them. I appreciate how you were willing to share with us.

  2. lynnjake says:

    Thank you for the kind words. I don’t feel like a very competent teacher today. Just an exhausted one. But there is always tomorrow…

  3. chrisleish says:

    I have the same dilemma- boys are wired differently. School is not the best of fit for these experiential, investigative learners- not when we have a class of 30+. what I have found is the groundwork I lay today, this week, month, year starts hitting in a year of two…I am fortunate to teach near the middle school most of my students attend, so I DO get to SEE the results though I rarely get to FEEL them. Viva la difference.

  4. tammyyoga says:

    I’m so sorry! Makes you wonder why we do it sometimes. I’m on spring break now and I know how wonderful the time away has been for me. I don’t have the issues you are having to deal with, but it is still very nice to have a change of pace and catch up on the home front. Hang in there!

  5. lynnjake says:

    Indeed! Middle school is just a rocky time for some, including teachers! I enjoy seeing these guys come back as high schoolers. They become so pleasant and sweet. Today, I hope I never see them again, but of course that will change!

  6. Flamingo Dancer says:

    We follow the responsible Thinking Process and after they are reminded of the rules and told that if we have to speak to them again we will assume that they are going to the responsible thinking room, they are sent where they have to write a plan about how they will behave in future. Four trips there in a term and their parents get a letter.

    It works for most, but a few frequent fliers hang on. The thing is three interruptions in a class and all learning is lost by the entire class. Best to turf them.

    I feel so sorry for you having to battle through…

  7. Patricia Kaiser says:

    Lynn, you are my hero! What a hard job you have, and probably the only reason you keep doing it is the deep and abiding love you have for the kids who are fortunate to have you in their lives. I hope you have a best spring break ever in two weeks!! When does school get out for the summer? Any chance you could come house sit here at the beach 5/25 – 6/9?

  8. lynnjake says:

    Oh, Patty!!! I can think of nothing I’d like better than to house sit for you!! Unfotunately, I’m in school until June 5. If you need a little fill in for the 6 – 9th, I’m in! Thanks for your kind comments. I didn’t feel anything but frustrated and disappointed yesterday!
    P.S. Where are you going?

  9. lynnjake says:

    Thank you. I completely agree with you about the interruptions ruining the class. And I love the term “turf them!” Thanks for your comment, it is an interesting idea that I will look at further.

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