The majority of my school's students have been rude, disruptive and careless. I'm really feeling stretched right now given all the other shit going on.
Here's the thing: I have all my lessons up online. I e-mail my students with reminders, send them review packets, make myself available by cell, text and e-mail. I even pack myself a sandwich everyday because kids feel my classroom is a "safe space" during lunch and use the classroom to socialize, study or just do homework. I can't say no to that... I also keep a spreadsheet which I update daily with all my students' grades to track trends in performance. I spend hours on each lesson and presentation to make sure it's clear for visual and auditory learners. I throw in real-life examples for those who need to be able to relate in order to understand.
So why the fuck isn't everyone acing this shit???
If I'm doing everything I can to ensure my students can meet me halfway on this so-called "bridge of knowledge," then the rest is all up to the student. Especially if they applied into this transfer high school, they should know better. So if that is indeed the case, then am I allowed to be a complete dick to those who aren't pulling their weight and making really shitty excuses? Can I disconnect myself from those who don't want to help themselves and focus on the group of kids who do? I really, really wanted to today.
My 1st period has been getting emptier and emptier over time: Attendance continues to be an issue, even though it's Personal Wealth Management. A course I designed to teach high school students the basics about economics, personal banking, credit cards, investments and taxes. This is real world stuff that most people don't learn until they're on their own and usually by making a lot of mistakes. Sound cool? You can't just get into this class - I make potential students fill out an application. I only want the students who actually care to learn money management as I don't want to deal with nonsense while teaching something I really enjoy. Over time however, my class roster of 20 has shrunk to 4-5 regulars, and 3-4 maybes. The rest pop in and out once a week or so, usually 30-40 minutes late. The period is 54 minutes long! Upon coming late, these hard workers usually ask questions such as the following:
"Yo Mista, what am I missing?.. When's the test?"Check your e-mail asshole. I know you have internet, you just added me on Facebook last night.
Moving on: My 2nd period Algebra class, which is usually my brightest, is starting to annoy me. Kiddos are talking over me, putting their head down to nap, and doing really stupid shit like trying to cut school an hour before they normally would've gotten out anyway (And only to get caught - this makes me laugh and feel sad at the same time). I'm not sure what to do with this group... I went off on them a little today and that forced them to do their work, but only temporarily. More and more, I'm starting to realize why some of these kids ended up in a transfer high school in the first place - they really lack discipline. Next year, the damn student recruiting better be more selective. I didn't sign up to teach at a school for emotionally disturbed students (there really are other places for kids with special needs like this). This isn't one of them - you need to be slightly self-motivated.
My 3rd period has literally been coming to class stoned. No seriously, yesterday it smelled like someone was actually growing weed in my classroom (note: I'm still looking for it, I know it's here somewhere). I felt stoned watching them act stoned as we tried to wrap our heads around factoring quadratics. Then this gem of a question:
"Yo Mista, I hear like, when you like, smoke weed and shit, you do like, better on tests and shit. Is that true? And uh...when's the test again?"I'm worried about this bunch...
7th period is just a fucking mess. I am at the point where I could give two shits about any one of them (except a select few, who have to bear with me around the jackasses). To be fair, there are some in this class (3 to be exact) that have changed (somewhat) and take each lesson seriously. It's just hard to concentrate when you have boneheads arguing about how they really aren't gay. Every other word I hear in this class is "pause" (FYI: "Pause" follows a statement that is taken out of context, usually in reference to something that sounds "homosexual"). I nearly gave up on them yesterday. And today, I did. I just handed them their assessment after 20 minutes of anarchy and surprise, surprise: Most failed. This is the same group who ask to borrow a sheet of paper to take notes, take really shitty notes, then as they walk out of my classroom, crumple up their notes and try to make a basket in the garbage bin. Unbelievable...
I should have expected things to get sour quick - especially at a first year school. A part of me wants to detach myself from those who don't really want to be here. I think subconsciously I already have. I really want to say, "Listen you spoiled brat, there are kids in other parts of the world who rob bookstores just to read and learn to get the fuck out of the situation they're in. They ditch school to visit tutors who can teach them better because their school and teachers are terrible. And yet, you still whine even when we make all of our lessons available online, give up our lunch periods and stay after school for you?"
I can't count the number of times they tell me they're going to come during lunch or after school when I'm doing my walk around while they take an assessment.
"Yo Mista, Imma come up for lunch, yeah? I really don't get this."
"Sure you can come - you know I'll be here," I say.What am I really thinking though? Probably this: "No, actually, you may not come. You may come up with a better way to prevent me from noticing that you weren't doing shit during the independent work time."
I feel so two-faced today. My job is to convince students they can all succeed and to help them get there. I see the potential; I want to help channel this into a positive future. But on days like this, I wonder if everyone is capable of change. I'm not so sure anymore. There are circumstances where victims will always remain victims. I've seen enough Law & Order: SVU to be empathetic. But this empathy leads me to question whether some of my kids will ever change. Has the system permanently scarred them?
And what about me? How many more days can I keep pouring energy into those who don't want it?
On Wall Street, I never felt this emotionally drained and physically exhausted. But for some reason, I still look forward to waking up at the butt crack of dawn tomorrow...