We had a class meeting. We talked about 'peace building' and what we need to do to make our classroom a better learning environment. I reminded kids how much potential they had and that I moved here to teach them.
Then, one by one I pulled them out of the classroom to tell them what I couldn't figure out how to show them - that I care about their future too much to let them continue down this path.
Some of them bought it. Some didn't. They will eventually because it's not a line - it's the truth.
Today was our only good day all week but it came at the right time. They left with smiles on their faces and fought over who would hold my hand and I was reminded that some of my babies are still.....babies....even at 13.
I also broke the no smiling until November rule today. Not that I hadn't smiled until today, but today I laughed - let my guard down and enjoyed moments with my kids without worrying about 'asserting my authority'.
We played a vocab review game during science today because our enrichment teacher spent his 45 minute period telling my kids they had failed their quiz because they were stupid and not going anywhere. Actually Mr. Bad Teacher, they failed because you have them copy definitions and give them no time to explore or LEARN them.
So today we played a game - Jeopardy with ecosystem vocab. It took 15 minutes to play and 50 minutes to plan but they LOVED it. My toughest kid, the one who hides in closets, kept getting answer after answer right. I couldn't believe it. Neither could he.
"I'm smart! I'm smart!" he said as he jumped up and down after each answer.
I wanted to hug him and say YES YOU ARE - hello! I tell you that all the time!
But today he came to the conclusion on his own and it was so fun to watch that I couldn't help but forget the fact that he was not raising his hand before he spoke and that he was not sitting in his chair.
Learning is happening in my classroom, damnit.
There may be fights and disrespect and disabilities I have not yet learned to work with but my kids are LEARNING.
At the end of the day that has to count for something, right?