Sunday, October 29, 2006

“This city’s made us crazy and we must get out.”
Maroon 5

From the bottom you can only go up, right? That means tomorrow will be a better day.
Friday brought drama. Friday was full of kids who were off even before they walked in the room, drama between my para and principal, seeing first hand what happens to kids with emotional disorders when they are (or feel) abandoned, and the chance to see what happens to my classroom when all of this happens on one day…
It started when we said the pledge 4 times. None of the fourth grade classes were participating so we stood outside in the yard and said it over and over and over…
Christopher was having an off day – yelling, attempting to hit one of the girls, tipping over desks and throwing the contents around the room.
Drama between my para and principal resulted in her quitting – walking out at 10:30 in the morning. It was not a discreet departure – she told everyone goodbye, let my kids know she was not coming back, the whole nine yards. As she walked out the door Joshua begged her not to leave. “I promise I’ll do my work!” he pleaded. “COME BACK!”
“It’s okay,” I reassured him and myself. “Sit down at your seat.”
My first plan was to ignore it – move on with our spelling test and writer’s workshop, but one by one they cried until 12 of them were in tears.
We could not move on.
I passed out their writer’s notebooks. “It’s okay to be sad and to be upset,” I said, “and it’s okay to cry when we feel sad or upset. One way to get out our feeling when we’re sad is to write.”
I gave them 20 minutes to write or draw or sit quietly and they did. Most of them wrote letters apologizing for their behavior and begging our para to come back. When the timer went off we had a brief discussion where they asked me a lot of questions I couldn’t answer…why did she leave, is she coming back, why don’t people like our class…I told them over and over again it was not their fault. I don’t think they believe me.
The rest of the day was chaos. Me trying to push us forward academically and my kids feeling abandoned and unable to focus on what we needed to learn.
Worksheets and activities got us through the day, but not before at least 7 fights and 2 kids running out of the room and around the building.
My kids are not getting what they need and it’s my fault for not advocating for them.
I’ve never been so emotionally drained in my life.

In an effort to recover mentally and escape the rain me, a roomie, and friend went to Boston. Rented a car, drove, ate, explored, listened to music…I came home feeling rejuvenated but now, with Monday morning just around the corner, I find myself counting down the days until Friday.Do people really live like this?


Miss Browneyedgirlie said...

Yup - I'm living like that right now. And will continue to do so until I graduate in May.

Ah, the life of a teacher (to be)!

TessaTeacher said...

Some days like yours, do happen. They happen in my classroom too - and hey, sometimes you do what you did - react appropriately by letting the kids talk and write it out. The important thing is that you remain consistent and firm and there for them.

And yes, I'm counting the days.