Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day 167: A Not-Great Version of Me

My period 4/5 has found something that they can get excited about, or at least relatively excited.  The current chapter has a section on symmetry and another on reflection.  I suspect that because these sections are visual and have very little calculation involved, they are willing to put more effort into it.  The stigma of "doing math" is so strong that they will do more complex concepts, as long as there are no numbers involved.

At the same time, I am finding my patience at almost zero.  Students were asking me legitimate questions about their work, but I was perceiving them, rightly or wrongly, as being overly needy and I was snapping at them.

S: "Is this right?"
Me: "Almost.  Keep working and checking it.  We're going to go over it in a few minutes."
S: **two minutes later** "I made some changes. Is it right now?"
Me: "Check it and see if you get the same answer. We're going to go over it as a group in a few minutes."
S: **one minute later** "Is it right now?"
Me: "Get away from my desk please. I already told you that we will be going over it."

I hate how I reacted to him.  I should appreciate his desire to do his work correctly and well, but I'm finding myself more annoyed by the idea that he thinks I should answer every questions right when he wants an answer to it.

I called the student up after class and apologized to him.  He has always been a nice and respectful student and didn't deserve the curt treatment that I gave him.

I should have done more throughout the year to encourage confidence in student work.  I should have done more to help students understand that they are a part of a learning community and that I have a plan and a schedule.

I should have done more to not be such a jerk to him.

I gave the class an assignment to work on and, for the most part, they worked well on it.  As I watched them, however, I had zero desire to go over the page or even jump back into the class.  I actually looked at the clock to see if I could justify letting this assignment casually and slowly fall apart, petering out until the bell rang and the students stumbled out of my room.

It took an act of willpower to pull myself up, gather the class and get back on task.  How can I honestly expect quality work from my students when I can barely muster it from myself?

At the same time, they managed to surprise me!  I couldn't gather the energy or will to go over the practice problems, so I became a better teacher by accident.

I handed over the Promethean pen and the students took over the review.  Half of them were disengaged, but the other half were having good discussions about where the points should go and whether or not the shapes they drew were actually reflections.

I should have been more involved in the review, asking pointed questions, redirecting the off-task students back to the task at hand.

But I just kept staring into space, silently begging the period to end.  Wishing only for the silence that accompanies a vacant classroom.

I made several calls home today.  Most could not be reached.  One yelled at me for not having control over her child.

In addition to this, we received an e-mail today telling us that grades would be finalized and closed on June 5th.  The last student day is June 11th.


  1. It is the end of the year. Do not be too hard on yourself. Compare yourself last year at this time to this year. Is there a difference? I think so. Seems to me that you put effort into being more approachable this year than in years past. Suck it up cupcake, this year was a more of a success from last year and next year will be even better. Cheers!

  2. It really is nice to hear about other schools and their ridiculous end of year issues. We're in school til the 19th and have a series of interruptions that none of us can keep track of right now... Mass, assembly, field trip, assembly, field trip, field trip, field trip, assembly, rehearsal, presentation, ice cream party, tennis playoffs (early release).... All this after today's college fair for juniors and retreat for 8th graders. Then a week of actual classes! Then finals. Summer is on its way, despite the 40 degree wind chill today.

  3. We are the same way with grades. Grades are due June 6 by 11 am but last day isn't until June 11. I do not understand why they need to be done so early. And the kids you want to stay home those last few days never do.


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