Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First Day Teacher Blues

At least I didn’t get stabbed today. I can say that much for my first day as a teacher. But I feel like I have to ask myself: is it this rough for all teachers?

I had a physical confrontation with a student who was trying to come into my classroom and punch my student. It was a kid half a foot taller than me trying to punch my student through the door, when I attempted to close the classroom door the student stuck his foot in and tried to push his way through. God help me, I think I broke school rules by physically pushing the student out of my door before closing the door. Oh, and this was all in front of my student’s mother.

I learned a valuable lesson, not to have my door open at all, ever, no way, no how. A bag of cotton balls was stolen off my desk from a student passing my room. That’s right, cotton balls. I can only hope that he/she got a good deal on the black market of beauty aids.

I had a student start crying because his mom left the class and he didn’t want to be in “the stupid school.” When the mother was walking down the hall and the student called to her in anguish, his mother just gave a dismissive hand wave and left the building.

I heard the following said to one of my paras during a break by an ex-student of theirs: “My boyfriend was shot over the summer, so I had to find a new one.” No, the boyfriend didn’t die, was just laid up in the hospital for a while.

I had my class decide to forgo lunch and “hang out” in the classroom instead of the lunchroom. Sadly, I couldn’t see myself physically removing students from the room.

I dealt with a student whose eloquence relied heavily on the words douche and fag. Especially while denouncing Canada. I’m serious, this kid was really angry about the “Fags in Quebec.” Even after I admonished him on his use of bad language, I learned that “Homosexuals in Quebec” wasn’t much better.

Out of 16 students, 3 came. And one was a new student.

Out of the 3 subjects I was supposed to teach today, nothing stuck. And I don’t think it will matter, because I have to teach it again when more students come anyway.

I am frustrated, because I don’t know if we got anywhere. And even though I know it’s only the first day, I thought I’d be able to get through a mini-lesson. I could barely get through a few sentences.

However, I was able to do the following:

--Assess two students reading fluency, one reads pretty well on his own, and another needs help with less common words like analysis and special.

--Learn that if you silently stare at a student long enough he’ll flip out and make an attempt at an assignment.

--Find an interesting way to deal with my bad language student. I have him write “I will not use bad language” on the board each times he swears, and sign it as well. I’m not sure it will work forever, but I am cheered up because he obeys enough to do the writing punishment.

I’m hoping tomorrow I can FINALLY get some composition books, transparencies, pencils, and other basic class necessities that I get the feeling need to be stolen from the office more often than be handed out. And I guess that means that I am returning tomorrow. Determination is a bitch.


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