Tuesday, September 1, 2009
The first fight
I need to take a break from describing the history of this situation, and express the emotion I am feeling. I had my first fight break out in the classroom today. It was during 3rd period, which is honestly the period that gives me a daily knot in my stomach, and I finally realized that things cannot get much worse. I tried to run between them and break them up, but the more I pushed, the harder they fought. Now I guess I can't say I didn't see this coming at all, because I felt myself losing control of the class progressively throughout the period. They insist on talking to one another and whisper all kinds of remarks anytime I try to get them to do anything. I spent a lot of time carefully planning a laboratory exercise for them to complete today, but instead we spent the time talking about how I could be a better teacher. Their main points were that I make them take too many notes and that I'm too nice. I am not quite sure how to respond to that, except that it is clear that I am going to have to get a lot more creative with my teaching strategies. The only thing most of these students are competent at is copying. They will copy from the book or the board, but don't ever ask them to think about what they are writing. For instance, if the question is not multiple choice, they don't even bother doing anything but copying down the question. I can see why many other teachers resort to having them copy so much, because it keeps them occupied until they leave their class. But I don't want my students to just be occupied, I want them to learn. Some days this job is too heavy. I am literally fighting them to learn something. My feet are sore, my voice is hoarse, I have completely worn out all 4 of my dry erase markers, and the thought of doing this again tomorrow is too much. I asked them today if they were learning, and they said they were. The question still remains as to whether it will be enough. The more I look at the statistics of this county and how far these students have to go, I am not so sure that we are fulfilling the creed of the school district: "preparing students to leave here college ready."