Monday, March 17, 2014

Day 121: Sick and Tired

I'm 90% sure that I have an upper respiratory infection.  I am going to blame that and not seasonal burnout for my current mood.

I've been avoiding complaining about the weather because everyone is doing that and there is nothing to do about it.  I am now convinced, however, that if it snows again, I will have to take a day off of school and sit at home and cry.

Even after a weekend at home, I was not ready for this morning.  I knew what I wanted my classes to do, but I wasn't ready to do it, either physically or mentally.

It turned out, I wasn't the only one.

Plans were:
  • Collect the take-home test that was assigned over the weekend
  • Discuss general questions on the topics included on the test
  • Verbal quiz on terms of the chapter
  • Watch Sunday's episode of Cosmos
What actually happened:
  • Collect the take-home test that was assigned over the weekend
  • Discover that more than half the class didn't complete the 19 question test, with 7 students not even starting it
  • Discuss my expectations for the class
  • Remind them that trying and failing is acceptable
  • Remind them that not trying is unacceptable.
  • Hand out scaling project that was going to be homework
  • Field comment from a student that boiled down to "we should do more calculation. I have a question on the homework."
  • Ask student where he was when I asked about homework (for the past week)
  • Patiently and understandingly go over questions on various homework problems, making students do the work.
  • Not watch Sunday's episode of Cosmos (maybe tomorrow)

Plans were:
  • Hand back quizzes from Friday
  • Go over quizzes
  • Hand out scaling project to be done in class
 What actually happened:
  • Hand back quizzes from Friday
  • Go over quizzes
  • Get into 20 minute discussion of combination/permutations involving email and PSP passwords
  • Hand out scaling project with detailed directions
  • Go over detailed directions as a class
  • Ask for question on detailed directions
  • Acknowledge no questions on detailed directions
  • Ask students to begin working
  • 20% begin working
  • 15% ask "What are we supposed to be doing?"
  • 25% put token effort into pretending to work
  • 40% don't bother pretending

Two students in my 8/9 were so disruptive that I had to remove them. They began screaming about having to go to the bathroom.  I told them that they could come back in as soon as they were able to control their volume.

Then I called home.  They were disruptive for a suitable time after that to show that they weren't calming down because I called home, but because THEY wanted to.  I was alright with that since they also then got to work.

As I'm typing this, I'm thinking about the things I could have done differently.  I could have modified the instructions to make them more clear.  I could have asked students (called on randomly) to explain the directions.

But I don't want to.

I want, just for a little while, for the kids to do what I ask without a massive fight.

I want, just for a little while, for them to not take (or pretend to take) requests to do work so personally.

I want, just for a little while, to have more parents answer the phone when I call than not.

I want, just for a little while, to skip the time of the year when I hate being a teacher.

My throat hurts.

My head hurts.

I have a fever.

I am coughing.

I think tomorrow, I'm staying home.

Edit: After school, a coworkers told me that it's time to collect a paycheck and worry about teaching my own kids.  Rather than go into a long rant about how my paycheck isn't enough to pay the bills I have, I'll simply state that I need to try to surround myself with my positive coworkers.

They are hard to find.  We are all burned out.


  1. Sioux's hazzacold advice: Gargle ... lots of salt water.
    Really, really, really blow out the sinuses. (I do it on my bike on the prairie... you prob'ly don't have that option;))

    And keep doin' the best you can. I found that building in a certain amount of predictable structure meant less argument... but March Madness still happened, every year...

  2. I love how honest your blog is. In the name of honesty, then, I should cop to being 1) not sick; and 2) not sufficiently appreciating the absurdly perfect weather here. But the kids are just the same here. No, better to say: I am just the same here. Same not-readiness. I was just not ready to go today. I "went" anyway. Weird; I actually felt pretty assured and cool and calm going through my Algebra stuff. But Geometry ... What is it about Geometry? Maybe it's that this is my first year teaching it and I don't yet have a sense of what they have problems with. These are probably discussions I should be having with a mentor before the day before the test (that was today--today was the day before the test).

    Alright, well ... It's 2:22 my time; I guess I'll go home and take a nap. I'm REALLY looking forward to that. But first ... plan tomorrow.


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