I have been feeling the "my students have checked out and I am still teaching, where is Christmas and a truckload of wine" blues the past few weeks. Today started out no differently.
I haven't mentioned before that I am currently hosting a co-op student in my classroom. This is a Grade 11 student who is interested in being a child psychologist. So naturally my Grade 8 Language Arts/ History/ Geography class is the most natural place for her to be to learn about that particular career.... Whatever. What it has meant for me is that sometimes I have someone who can do some menial work for that might otherwise have cut into my evenings- things like cutting and pasting displays, marking quizzes and scribing for students who have difficulty writing (naturally, the last one there would NOT have occurred in the evening!). Sometimes though I am scrambling to find things for her to do because she is so close to my student's age that it is difficult to find work for her to do and I am a control freak when it comes to my classroom.
I digress....my co-op student showed up late today, and as I had nothing for her to do I shuffled her off to my teaching partner to mark math tests. I settled in to moderate the last of 6 literature circle discussions with my class. And yes, after an entire month of harping about the importance of these discussions some students were still NOT prepared. For real. (I have decided this week my saving grace is going to be to speak as little as possible, because my mother taught me that if you have nothing nice to say you shouldn't say anything at all. There are some students who I have nothing nice to say to right now.) Anyway we settled into the discussions with the usual kids doing well and the other usual kids doing nothing, and the day moved on and on.
Period 6- 8D. Grrrrrrr....8D. The thought brings a headache. I am attempting to start my History lesson (Note: they have a major Unit Test on Thursday) and everyone is talking. So in the spirit of my decision this week I sit down in my rocking chair and rock. They slowly star to realize and quiet down. They are staring at me. I say 'I give up. Go read, study. The test is Thursday." I am greeted with wide-eyed stares. "Yes, seriously. Just read. I am going to sit here. Teach yourselves. This material is one the test."
One brave student raises their hand, "For real? You give up?"
Me, "Yup. I am really tired of begging you to listen to me. You don't need me, I give up. Go learn. I'll see on you'all on Thursday at the test."
To which a student who is driving up the wall blurts out, "There's a test!!??" (Note: I told them about the test LAST Wednesday and have already posted TWO sets of review questions on my website.) I just put my face in my hands and tried not to cry. 45 minutes later the period was over and they left.
So you are probably asking yourself.....umm, the title says rejuvenation? Doesn't it?
Yes, it does! I went to a Drama workshop after school and got a new picture book and learned a ton of new drama strategies I am VERY excited to bring back to my classroom. I think they will really fit well with my unit in January on Social Responsibility and will really, really help my students start to understand History a little better. There were some fantastic strategies to help students get into the role of a character and see the world through there eyes, some powerful writing techniques and sharing methods that with help the students who struggle learn from their peers. I almost CAN'T WAIT for the Christmas Holiday to be over to start some of these new things in my classroom!
How's that for a 180?