My thought for the weekend: I’m glad Friday was a Friday. Even if my attitude about Mondays is a little more optimistic (read: I don’t generally dread them), my opinion of Fridays is the prevalent one. By Friday, I think a break is in order and probably necessary for at least most teachers, even if you have an easy load and a generally tolerable classroom dynamic.
Which, in my opinion, isn’t entirely true for me on either count.
Yes, my load could be worse, but teaching two sections of AP English IV itself is a task, and adding two honors sections of English III and my little section of eighth grade language arts doesn’t help that much. I think it will get a little easier once we move out of research papers – which have been a serious struggle for me with planning and instruction – but it’s still very intensive in comparison.
Additionally, my classroom management, for lack of a better word, sucks. Well, it’s not horrible with my eighth graders and my juniors, the former because they’re significantly younger (holy crap, a lot of these kids don’t even know what the Cold War is, and I remember the end of it!) and the latter because they haven’t really any reason to challenge me in that regard, I suppose. But the seniors, especially one class, have really figured out what they can do to be devious and get under my skin. And I, kind person that I try to be, have not reacted accordingly.
Friday was one of these days. This one particular class is especially good about pushing me just to the point at which I’m annoyed but not enough to respond strongly. I try to laugh with them, but ultimately, they’re the ones who end up laughing last because they have noticeably more control than they should – and they know it.
I’ve always hated confrontation, and doing what I have so far has almost been a stretch. One class in particular almost frightens me – mostly because they’re so devious and really quite bright – and that is my strongest challenge. It’s a serious problem, and so Monday, with its new start, is my time of action. Monday, things change. I take back some of the control that I’ve lost, and we get back to a balance.
At least, I hope. My co-op has been fairly complimentary on almost every other aspect of my teaching (save for possibly instructional planning, but her comments have been fairly minor, I think – I’m still working), but classroom management is not one she’s given me much positive feedback on. I knew going in that she virtually never compliments classroom management for a student teacher simply because they never really have it down even by the end. If she can tell a principal, “He or she has things under control,” then that’s about as glowing a comment as she’s ever given, according to her own testimony. But I know that my classroom management skills have been severely lacking, some of which is attributable simply to bad instincts (which scares me) and the rest of which is an awareness but lack of action (which might scare me more).
Tomorrow is a new week, and I intend to see it through. A thought I had a few days ago comes to mind (and I’m fairly sure this is original):
There is always hope if you’re willing to change.
Remember how classroom management is self-management? As far as I’m concerned, there’s still hope yet for this, and as long as I can still believe that, then I think I’ll be okay.