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..