Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Weariness- The Negative Side of a Grade 8 Story

I know I said I would stop whining this week, and I am not sure this is whining, but something happened today that was so disturbing I feel like I must get it out so I can let it go.

A Grade 8 boy; a boy who I have been working with all year to try and convince him that he can do better, he is better, his future can be whatever he wants, made an overt sexual, and I feel harassing gesture, in my classroom. Now whether it was directed at me, or more horrifying, at a 13 year-old girl, it was inappropriate, disgusting and to be honest, very upsetting.

I believe I handled it very well.  I did not yell. I didn't even raise my voice actually, I just said "Out" and pointed at the door. I called the behaviour teacher and related what happened. I then had to explain to my principal what the gesture meant, that was pretty entertaining/ embarrassing, and get on with my day of teaching.

I hate that behaviour like this is what sucks me in. It puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the day and I dwell on it. Which is not only unfair to me, but unfair to my other students who behave well all day, every day. And today we were doing some pretty awesome stuff and I could almost see the learning happening in their heads. The discussion they were having about literature, questions, and the possible answers. Evaluating and the defending their positions to each was AWESOME. I am actually excited (although I doubt they are) for the test on Friday just to see what comes of the fabulous learning they displayed today...then some kid goes a wrecks my mood.

After 6 years I want to be able to say "Bah, not worth it" and let it go. Now, I don't mean not disciplining as this was something that needed consequences and I have asked for an apology signed by the student and his mother before he will be admitted back into my room. I mean not worth my time, my emotions, my mood. I want to focus solely on the kids who want to be there, who want to learn, who are desperate to do better.

Is it bad to say, "Well, they are in Grade 8. Can they really change? Will they really change?" If they didn't do homework in Grade 5, 6, 7, and now 8 can I really convince them in the next 5 months that they should do it? I mean, they are in Grade 8 so obviously they don't have to to get promoted to the next grade. Our system has taught them that much at least. Ohhh, I am feeling awfully negative today aren't I? Sorry.

Anyone have good news to share? New babies? Kittens? Fantastic new book I should read? I would love to hear about it. 

5 Thinks and Thoughts of Others:

Molly said...

I am so sorry! I do the same thing - I allow the very small minority to control my emotions and my day. It is hard to focus on the good, when the bad stares us down.

I hope tomorrow is a better day - and the test results on Friday make you proud :)

Brian DeWagner said...

Some good news? How about some good vibes instead?

I hope Zoey grows up and has a teacher like who's still asking questions of herself. I love that.

hcmurdoch said...

I get what you are going through. We did textbook distribution today so I got to deal with a few (and only a few) cranky teenagers who were mad that they didn't get what they wanted when they didn't follow the rules. One even kicked my library door! Shocking! I suggest anger management :-)

But, now I am home and feeling better! Hope you are too.

English Teacher said...

Thanks, Brian. That means a lot.

Molly and hcmurdoch- Thanks for the good wishes. I hope you both are having better days as well.

SB said...

good on you for being simple and direct in your consequences. bravo. it's hard because you wish for the good in every student and you work so hard to cultivate that side and then after all that work it's like they threw-up all over you.


as bon jovi says, keep the faith, girly, someone somewhere will change and it will be a direct result of's a crapshoot who that little one will be; your efforts will be rewarded somewhere down the line when you least expect it. For now, just know that you are doing your best and not giving up -- so you can be proud of yourself instead of resigning yourself to cynicism and giving up and then feeling guilty about that.

Last Words...

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe