“Taking My First Paid Sick Day” Friday September 30, 2016

Why is it that just by taking the day off from work you feel better? If I had gone into work this morning there is no doubt that I would feel miserable. But I’m actually feeling better. I went to bed early and slept for over 12 hours. It was amazing!

sick-day1I watched Netflix again for the first time in weeks. That felt great. I’ve been going to the bathroom at will! That’s great.

But now I’m thinking I need to get a jumpstart on my lesson plans for the following week. Also, I only planned for Friday which means I’m going to have to get into work super early on Monday to set everything up. I was thinking of even going into work this afternoon just to clean up after the substitute.

I really hope my kids are being good. But then again I also kinda hope that they’re awful for the substitute so that someone can sympathize with me. Or that they’re so bad for the sub that the sub quits in the middle of the day and everyone can be like, “Miss Sinclair’s class is really bad. I feel so sorry for her. How does she do it?”

Is that being selfish? That I want credit for dealing with these awful students? Or am I being a rotten teacher right now?

It just sucks that I put so much effort into planning, grading, and dealing with these kids and I get no respect from anyone. I was relaxed. Now thinking about school has made me angry. I’m going to watch a stupid movie and try to forget about my problems.

“Longest Day Ever!” Thursday September 29, 2016

I’m so tired. I mean, I’m usually tired. But right now, I’m very tired. If I closed my eyes for more than a second I think I would fall asleep.

rough-dayThankfully I’m all set for a substitute teacher tomorrow. Feel sorry or her. Or him. My kids were unusually terrible today.

Tyrese and I got into a battle today over the bathroom. I don’t make that big of a deal about the bathroom. I figure if you have to go, fine. They’re allowed one bathroom break in the morning and one after lunch.

However, today I did not let Tyrese go to the bathroom because he hadn’t done any work all morning. I decided to use the bathroom as motivation. I told him if he finished his writing he could use the bathroom. Which isn’t hard. His writing isn’t even writing. I’ve never been able to read anything he’s ever written, anyway. He could literally just scribble lines on his paper and that would be good enough.

Instead we get into an argument about how badly he has to go. But I already said “no” and I wasn’t going to change my mind. And the more he argued, the more frustrated I got. He must win these arguments otherwise he would just accept my word. In fact, none of my students accept anything I say. They argue about everything.

Clearly there are adults in these children’s lives that give in to them otherwise they wouldn’t complain and whine about every little thing.

Tyrese doesn’t get the bathroom and he strikes out. And I told him he can stay in for lunch so he can finish his work.

So he leaves. He gets up and walks out the door. I follow the same procedure I did the last time he left. I send a student to the office to tell an adult to go after Tyrese.

And what happens? Tyrese goes to the bathroom and the secretary walks him back and she says, “Tyrese says it was an emergency and you wouldn’t let him go to the bathroom. He went to the bathroom and now he’s ready to work.”

Huh? That’s it? That’s all you’re going to do? So if he wants to use the bathroom and I say “no” he can just walk out and do it? FUCK THAT!

I told him it was completely unacceptable for him to leave the room without permission, I told him it was dangerous, that if something were to happen I wouldn’t know where he was, and I told him he would be staying in for lunch and recess to practice staying in the classroom.

He didn’t seem to upset about it. So I called his mother again after school. She’s actually very sweet. She apologized for not calling me back, she said that she works late. She talked about how she doesn’t know what to do with Tyrese and that’s she’s very sorry. I got the impression Tyrese’s mom is too nice. That she’s afraid to stand up to him. It’s so sad, really.

But he’s the substitute’s problem tomorrow!! Ha! Ha! Ha! <cough> <cough>

 

 

“I’m Sick” Wednesday September 28, 2016

MjAxMy0zZmUxZGY4YjZkNjE5Njlm I hate being sick. Of course, not many people enjoy being sick. I have a horrible sore throat, bad headache, I’m aching, my nose is stuffed which is making me mouth-breathe which is making my throat worse. It’s a vicious cycle. It started around lunch time today.

I should call in sick tomorrow. Except that 1. I don’t know HOW to call in sick. and 2. I don’t have plans prepared for a substitute teacher.

I’m going to go into work tomorrow. I’m going figure out what I have to do to get a substitute and I’m going to take Friday off and give myself a three-day weekend. It shouldn’t be too hard. I’m ahead because of MAP testing.

I’ll cut this one short and try to get extra sleep tonight. I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be rough.

“I Have a Mentor?” Tuesday September 27, 2016

I’m still not sure if I’m a long-term substitute or a first-year teacher. But I have been given a district-appointed mentor. I’ve considered Dania my mentor up until now, but this actually required for all first year teachers.

ba24937695a46aa38364e9c9bf344a0aConnie asked me if I had gotten in touch with my mentor and I was honest and told her I didn’t know what she was talking about. She gave me this woman’s information and told me that I had to meet with her once a month.

This woman isn’t even in the same school. Her school is in our zone, but this is just another thing to add to my infinite list of shit to do.

I emailed her and she said she tried emailing me earlier in the year but I probably ignored that message. Anyway, we’re going to meet at her school on Friday after school.

I suppose it’s good. I need support. I have no idea was guided reading is supposed to look like. I’m not sure how to prepare for my observations. I’m still struggling with classroom management, time management, grading, scoring, assessments, lesson planning, okay basically everything. I’m struggling with everything except for teaching. I feel like when I have a lesson plan and a good assessment I’m really good at getting in front of the class and teaching.

If only teaching could only be teaching.

“MAP Testing” Monday September 25, 2106

Hooray for pointless tests! It was so nice to have a couple of hours off from teaching. I didn’t know that we were having MAP testing today. In fact we have it tomorrow too. Apparently this was in an email. To be honest, I don’t read my emails. I’m included on so many emails that I just don’t have time to weed through them all.

I only read the emails that are responses to emails I’ve sent. I’ll have to start reading more of them I guess.

map1

I like MAP testing. It’s a nice break in my schedule.

You guys are crazy. MAP testing is great!Apparently we MAP test three times per year. And these test scores determine whether or not teachers get a bonus at the end of the year. I don’t know if that applies to me or not. There’s also something called PARK (PARC?) testing that people keep mentioning.

I don’t care. It’s just so nice to have silence. This is honestly the longest I’ve ever seen my students stay quiet. We do the tests in the computer lab and the kids are wearing headphones and it’s all automated and I’m impressed that my students don’t freak out and refuse to do it.

Well, actually, two of the kids did rush through the test. One was a girl who started crying in the middle of the test and chose to just randomly respond to everything. The other was just like, “Nope.” and refused to answer any of the questions.

I think the rest of the class just likes having computer time. I also learned through my email that I did not sign my kids up for the computer lab and that I’m supposed to be incorporating computer time into their lessons. Oops!

I think I’m giving up. I feel like maybe I’ve already checked out for the year. I hope that’s not the case. I want to do a good job. I’ve just reached that point where I feel like I’m so overwhelmed that caring is only going to make it worse.

“My Job Is Impossible” Saturday September 23, 2016

I keep thinking about if I’m having a hard time because it’s my first year teaching or whether or not things are just this hard. Dania has been teaching for 20 years and she says that this year’s group of kids are the worst she’s ever had. But she also says that she said the same thing a couple of years ago. Which doesn’t boast much excitement in my blossoming career.

overwhelmed-smallerIf the kids are just going to keep getting worse each year I don’t imagine me staying around. It’s not worth it. I can’t get over just how awful 2nd graders can be. They’re bossy, rude, and worst of all they’re disrespectful.

And yes, I’d say that more than half of my class are really sweet kids. But the rotten kids are so bad I feel like they’re corrupting the goods ones.

They’re all desperate for attention and they’re stupid. I know as a teacher I shouldn’t call my kids stupid, but they are. They’re stupid.

We do an addition or a subtraction worksheet everyday. They still forget to write their names, they still will subtract on the addition worksheet and add on the subtraction worksheet, and a lot of them still get the same problems wrong.

And reading? Forget about it. I swear after I read something to them that they must’ve been watching something entirely different in their heads because their answers have NOTHING to do with the story.

Not only are my kids poorly behaved, but they’re not even operating a second grade level. If I did my benchmarking correctly, then only 4 kids are at grade level. Everyone else is at a first grade or kindergarten level.

At this point, I feel my job is impossible. It’s not possible for one person to control all of these behaviors and get each student up to grade level with the current support I have. I’m already working nights and weekends.

Thankfully, Zooey is taking me out again. I don’t think we’re going to the club (but that would be sweet), but whatever she has planned usually takes my mind off of work.

 

“Finally, it’s Friday” Friday September 23, 2016

6be3165b83ec591e5d1ef31e9eabac50What a rotten week. I’m not going out tonight. I spent the entire night working in my classroom. I don’t like the way things are arranged. I feel like our transitions between the carpet and their desks is too confusing, I didn’t like that my stuff was within hand’s reach when they lined up at the door, and I felt like we needed more posters that show appropriate behaviors.

I also feel like I didn’t have enough reinforcements. I used the same system that I used in student teaching. I have two jars of marbles. Whenever the class is doing as they’re supposed to, I move a marble into the jar. Whenever they’re not listening or misbehaving I take a marble out. I think there’s probably 30 marbles that they have to earn and then we get a party.

They have zero marbles right now. Technically, they’re in the hole a couple of marbles. But I told them we could start fresh on Monday.

il_340x270.781218360_im1oSo I made a clip chart tonight. I used five colors: white is in the middle and they can move up to blue and green when they’re good. They can move down to yellow or red when they’re begin bad. There is a clip for each student. It was a lot of work.

But I think the clip chart will help. The students that finish the day on green can get 5 tickets, then 4 and 3 and they get zero tickets if they’re on yellow and red.

Also, if they’re still on red at the end of the day, they have to write a note to their parents and get it signed.

This is what Betty does in her classroom and she says she wouldn’t be able to get through the year without one. So that gives me hope.

My students are just so mean to each other. They’re also arguing and stealing from each other.

They’ve stolen ever dry erase marker I’ve left out and all of my dice that we used for an activity.

The problem is that there isn’t much in the ways of punishment at the school. Sending students to the office is a waste of time because they get out of class (which is what they want) and they’re sent right back.

I’ve been keeping students in during recess when they don’t finish their work but I think some of them like the extra attention.

I feel like I’m doing a terrible job. We’re going to start reading groups next week and I have no confidence that I grouped my students correctly.

I also haven’t been keeping up with grading their math worksheets so that’s probably how I’m going to spend my time this weekend on top of lesson planning.

 

“Fallout from Yesterday” Thursday September 22, 2016

I hate that this one kid is ruining my classroom. Because he’s not the only problem. More than half of the class misbehaves but I just don’t have the capacity to deal with their behaviors and Tyrese’s.

Ms. Bakker came in this morning to apologize to Tyrese. She said that she was stuck in a different classroom for another student and it was completely a one-time thing and would never happen again. She told Tyrese that he did such a good job that if he was good today that she’d take him out twice as long to make it up to him.

frustAnd Tyrese was in rare form today. He wasn’t able to keep quiet. He repeatedly was tapping his desk with the length of his pencil and drumming with his hands. So I would take his pencil away and he would get up out of his seat and steal somebody’s pencil right out of their hand. I would watch him do this, tell him to give it back, and he would deny that he did anything at all.

So when he didn’t earn his baseballs for the first three activities it became unlikely that he would earn his points in the afternoon and he was acting like an ass to everyone. Falling into people in line, trying to trip people, flicking the back of student’s ears while we were on the carpet, etc.

A huge downfall of this behavior plan is that after he gets three strikes he no longer has any motivation to behave until the next activity.

Miraculously he ended up earning two baseballs. He earned one in music and one for science because our activity was basically just making clay.

So it’s the end of the day, we’re in social studies reading a Weekly Reader and he’s engaging in a behavior that doesn’t really match anything listed on his board.

His board lists: not being distracting, staying in his area, and keeping his hands to himself. He was sitting at his desk, not paying attention with his head tilted backwards making spit bubbles. He had already had two strikes for gargling the spit because I considered that to be distracting. And he was foaming at the mouth when Ms. Bakker walked in.

I told her that he had a rough morning but nearly pulled it around this afternoon. He was one strike away from not getting anything. But even though he was a particular jerk today, Ms. Bakker took him out to play basketball.

The world no longer makes any sense to me.

Oh, and I’m pretty sure I benchmarked the first five kids wrong.

“First Day of New Plan” Wednesday September 21, 2016

Ms. Bakker came in this morning and explained Tyrese’s behavior plan to him. Apparently the two of them worked it out so Tyrese gets to go outside and play basketball with Ms. Bakker if he earns all of his baseballs.

Ms. Bakker encouraged me to be generous because this plan will work best if he really wants the reward. I said I’d play along.

The plan actually worked for most of the day. He would usually quiet down after two warnings. That was obnoxious because I’m basically giving him two free passes to hit someone, throw something, get up out of his chair, or disrupt the class. So, it wasn’t like the day went any better.

The plan was Ms. Bakker would stop by the class at the end of the day to pull Tyrese if he earned his points. She didn’t show up. Tyrese earned all of his points. The first day. And she’s a no show.

0f10a3a0a4159db7e32432cec51b7e36All I could say to Tyrese was that something must’ve come up and that he’ll get his reward another time. He was upset about it, as he should be! I was upset about it! Don’t put a plan in place that basically hinges on him getting a reward for good behavior and then bail.

I feel like anytime an adult breaks his or her word to a child, that child trusts adults less and less. And that trust is what children need to grow into responsible adults. But if the adults raising these children can’t be responsible, it’s no surprise when those kids grow up to be rotten people.