We're two weeks and one day into the new school year and a certain degree of routine and comfort is starting to emerge. Every morning I look in the mirror and say "You are a strong confident woman and these hoodlums will not get the best of you."
It continues to be a bit tough to adjust to the new school, but it is getting better every day. Each class is starting to develop its personality. It's the weirdest thing about teaching that is sometimes hard to describe to non teachers. Not only do students have their own attitudes, quirks, and habits but individual classes too. That's why when I think back to my fourth period senior class last year I almost start to cry because the class somehow developed this attitude of total love and cooperation and respect and, gosh, was it hard to say goodbye. I wonder if I'll ever attach myself to students in the same way that I attached myself to my Copper Hills Students. It's possible, right?
Personalities so far:
2nd period/ Seniors: My "I don't give an eff" class. They're not disruptive or disrespectful, they just act bored with everything. We're going to read a new book? Whatever. You don't have our papers graded yet? Whatever. You are going to do a back flip on a live tiger right in the middle of the classroom? Whatever. I've had a hard time getting them excited about the book and project so far but they sit quietly and do their work, so it's hard to feel justified in complaining much.
3rd period/ Seniors: My "cool" class. You can kind of tell that these kids are the cool kids in the school. They are social butterflies and it takes about five minutes to get them to get working at the beginning of class because they're all just yapping away. I like that they like each other and they seem to like me and the class, but sheesh! Just shut up already! They are also cell phone addicts, which I suppose goes along with their social obsession- today I took away three cell phones. They just can't put them away.
4th period/ Seniors: My "what's going on?" class. I don't know if they are really that clueless or if they just act that way for attention. I feel like at least a dozen times a class period I have someone shouting out to the whole class, "What's going on?" "What'd she say?" "What page are we on?" "What's the date?" They are more disrespectful class than any of my classes last year and definitely the most disrespectful senior class I've ever had. They just don't stop talking- when someone else is talking, when I'm talking, when I'm giving a quiz. I lost it a bit with them today. I had had enough so I raised my voice enough to let them know I meant business, said a few choice words, and then laid down the law. They shut up and worked the rest of the period. Let's see if it carries over to next class period.
5th period/ Juniors: My heaven sent class. Ah, my juniors! My one shining, beaming class of juniors. They are they joy of my teaching schedule. Juniors are the perfect age- they know the high school drill but they're not rushing out the door yet. I feel like by junior year they are settled into their high school awkwardness and just accept it for what it is. Plus I get to teach Gatsby to juniors and that's enough to keep me teaching them for years. This particular group of juniors is just like all the other junior classes that I have- smart, funny, mellow, anxious to please. Give me a class of juniors and I'll teach them til my throat is sore and my feet are throbbing and I'll still beg you for more.
7th period/ AP Literature My silent smarties. I'm scrambling a bit to figure out the AP curriculum, but I'm really enjoying my nine senior geniuses in the meantime. There are so few of us that we sit in a circle and talk about the book and go over past AP tests and muddle through tough essay prompts. I stress about the class and how it's going to go every day but that doesn't mean that I'm not totally falling in love with these guys. They are all quiet and shy about their brilliance and it's sort of endearing. I know they know the answer but they never answer until I call on them by name and then they'll just nail the right answer. Smart cookies.
8th period/ Seniors: My fun class. Last period of the day classes can be a disaster because everyone's hyper and riled up and gosh why won't kids shut up at 1:30 in the afternoon? Next time you look at a clock and it's 1:30 think of me and know that somewhere I am battling a group of rowdy teenagers. Still, despite their rowdiness, these kids know when to shut up, when to pay attention and when to hop in on the discussion. I can already feel us starting to create classroom magic. Yesterday I was reenacting a scene from Lord of the Flies where Jack is about to kill a pig and I looked around the room real quick and noticed that all kids were totally engaged, watching and listening with interest. Classroom magic, my friends.