Every time, without fail or exception, if I need a guest teacher, I inevitably get a note about my 7th period students.
The quotes range from ‘WORST CLASS EVER!!!!!’ to “chaos,” “challenging,” “chatty,” “disruptive,” and the ubiquitous, “not on task.” Yeah.
I was watching some teacher videos demonstrating classroom management the other week. The pretty, young teacher had small groups of elementary students who watched and listened to her every word. If a child as much put his head down on the book, she would stop, and with the commanding presence of an English dog trainer, wait stone still until the child resumed his attention. I’m very good at wait time, too, but I admit, even my 7th period class has realized it’s a war of attrition. We wear each other down, until no one “wins.” I don’t get to do my job, which I love, and they don’t get half of the education that the other classes gain.
I told them today the best analogy I could think of: As individuals, I really like each of them. However, if they were a country, I would turn in my passport. There is nothing I want to visit, no activities I want to do, and no sights I want to see in their “country.” On the voyage of my day, I swim through the rarified air of honors, then through the rustic lands of other languages, reading instrution land and then…the blown-out shards of 7th period. There are a few ambassadors of the group who try, who are attentive–but most have checked out.
I’d like to think I’m a creative, problem-solver, but I’m at a loss. What can I do so we can turn this nation around? Perhaps give them more of a stake in their nation-building: more votes, more persuasion, more debates and consensus.
And, if you do guest teach for me, one word of advice: get vaccinated. They bite.