Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Indulgent Rant re: Pitfalls of Teaching

I’ve kept this blog “strictly business” for a good long time, so allow me to indulge in a moment of melodrama:

Sadly, I am three inches away from despair in my teaching. This week after Thanksgiving has been nothing but insanity, indignity and insolence. In three days I have had the following:

--One student coming to class with a black eye and scabs on the side of her head where her mother kicked her. Yeah, this happened so close to Thanksgiving that the student wasn’t allowed to go to the Thanksgiving dinner because the bruise was so bad. I had to fumble with four different people before I knew what I was required to do in this case to appease the whole Mandatory reporter scene.

--My finger slammed in the drawer of my front desk by an unwitting student. (I’ve started rewarding hard workers by letting them sit at the teacher’s desk while finishing an assignment.) And it still stings right under my fingernail.

--I had to break up a hand lotion and milk fight, sacrificing my clean slacks in the bargain.

--One of my students was moved to another class because his anger issues distracted from his performance in my class…and the student cajoled the A.P. into thinking it was my teaching, and not his flipping desks that led to his academic misfortune. Apparently, he also told the A.P. that I assaulted him and he needed to go to the hospital for the broken ribs. (Yup, in front of God and everyone.)

When my assistant principal stopped by the room to break the removal to me the following last words on the subject were said on both our sides in front of the A.P:

Ms. C: “Eric, I hope you do well. Good Luck!”

Student: “Fuck you.”


--I had a student light up a cigarette in my classroom yesterday, right in front of the class and myself. Since that student’s mother yelled at the A.P. he did not get suspended and spent all of today gloating that he’s allowed to smoke in class.

--My file cabinet got broken into and a mass of candy stolen.

It’s driving me crazy…and I know my kids are acting out because of Thanksgiving break, but it’s been impossible to teach them anything and I’m frustrated and getting slightly snarky with some of them. (Which I don’t want.) I’m know that I am being pretty self-centered right now, that I should be more worried about the broken homes my students hail from, and that being the reason for their actions…But this week I feel like I’m losing my mind.


Blogger Jennie said...

I'm sorry you've had such a hard week back. I think we've all felt overwhelmed by this job (I feel that way at least once a month!). Hang in there. Sometimes, you need to think about yourself--if only to have anything left to offer to your students!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous nyc educator said...

I taught special ed. one semester, and while it made me a stronger teacher, particularly in terms of class control, it was the roughest job I ever had in my life.

If I were you, I'd take stock of my interests and college credits, and consider taking a license in another discipline. Of course I'm not you.

But I really like what I do, and I really like the kids I work with. If you can say the same, I say God bless you, because you save people like me from having to teach sepcial ed. If not, though, look to the future and ask if you'd be happier teaching something else.

I can't speak for you, but I know I am.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 7:06:00 AM  
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Thursday, November 30, 2006 9:00:00 PM  
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Thursday, November 30, 2006 9:03:00 PM  
Blogger NYC Teacher said...

Sounds like you had a terrible week. I'm sorry to hear that. Try checking out the book MISERY IS THE SMELL IN YOUR BACKPACK. I read it to my kids on bad days.

BTW: I'm in my third year of teaching in NYC (Harlem). The first year is always the worst. If you can hack this year, then I promise you it will only get better and better!

Sunday, December 03, 2006 7:20:00 AM  
Blogger Ms. C said...

I ended up taking my first sick day on Thursday...just couldn't talk myself into facing all the chaos and shouting. I want to chalk it all up to it being the week after Thanksgiving and I hope the coming week will be better.

Sunday, December 03, 2006 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is crazy. i can't believe what you go through. i teach in california, and it is NOTHING like what you write about. special ed or not, no one is allowed to act like that. here all the kids act fairly well behaved. three fights and you are out (that is for the four years of high school). attack a teacher and it is jv for you. crazy what you have to put up with. it is amazing that you can teach anything at all. sounds more like babysitting. good luck to ya!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 9:05:00 AM  
Anonymous School Teacher said...

All that I can say is simply hang in there. As you know, I feel you pain! (smile) Truly and deeply. But seriously, I have been feeling more and more despair lately as well. I feel like I have no support from administrators at my school who seem to love having long, drawn out meetings where the same old stuff gets rehashed with nary a resolution in sight. Arghh! I often wonder if there is hope for many of my kids and if there isn't then why try? Most days it's very hard to teach and I ofetn feel like a well paid babysitter.

I don't know what "Anonymous" is talking about because I teach in California. Southern California at that. And, although I agree with NYC Educator, teaching Special Ed has made me a stronger teacher and I a stronger person for that matter, I would have to disagree with NYC Teacher. I'm in my 2nd year of teaching Special Ed and it has NOT gotten easier.

You are incredible to have made it this long without having taken a "sick" day. I have taken more than one "mental health day" so far this school year. I just didn't have the mental or physical fortitude to drag myself out of bed to face those kids. I just rolled over and said, "Not today." Again, hang in there. I'm cheering,crying(while I'm crying for myself) praying and eveything else for you.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 1:16:00 AM  
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