Saturday, December 15, 2007

"I'm not calling for a second chance
I'm screaming at the top of my voice
Give me reason, but don't give me choice
Cause I'll just make the same mistake again."
James Blunt

The not so new one called kids names so horrible I will not type, or hint, at them in a public forum, nor would I repeat them to my mother on the phone. He also rocked back and forth in his chair, chanting, "I'm gonna kill some one," over and over again. When no one responded, he said it louder, and when still no one responded he stood up on his chair and screamed, "I'M GONNA KILL SOME ONE!!!" Security entered the room, having been called by another teacher. Amazing, the few times I've called they've never come.
He was removed and my kids sat, stunned.
"I feel like I'm on that show where they arrest people and they put it on tv and then it's a show," said Joshua. "If I was on that show, I would give people my autograph."
I thanked my kids for ignoring him - we'd had a class meeting earlier about how sometimes, when things are going on at home or inside of you, you say and do things that you don't mean and that the best thing we can do for him and ourselves as a class is ignore him and help him when he expresses a need for help. Since that meeting my kids had been beyond amazing. His pencil fell on the floor, 3 of them raced to pick it up. He needed a piece of paper, 2 of them were ripping one out of their notebooks. These were kids that were ready to rip him to pieces 30 minutes before....
And then, somehow, they all went back to work, and so did I, and eventually, the new one came back as if nothing had ever happened.
I can't imagine growing up in a world, or being educated in a classroom, with peers who say (and feel) such intense anger and hopelessness.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The New One

My not so new new kid has been wreaking havoc on my classroom.
Transitions are hard for him, and he has been bounced around from classroom to classroom for 2 years now, so I've definitely been holding his hand through the last month of getting used to instruction in my room.
But each morning gets worse, and the days less productive, so finally today I told him he would not be allowed back in to my classroom without a parent conference.
After spending the day in suspension, his foster parent was at my door when we dismissed.
At what point is the environment not right for the child because it is not right for the rest of the children?
Maybe a 12:1:1 would work for him somewhere else, but because of his history here, the dynamic in this room, with these students, does not work.
He needs consistency, and our school has given him nothing but inconsistency, and with new paras every day, my room is not as predictable as he needs it to be.
We must figure out a way to lead this kid to success....starting with tomorrow.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Today my para was terminated. Officially. Finally. After 3 months of not showing up, then coming back last week. 3 months of different subs every day, some times every period, some times not at all.
The inconsistency is killing us.
This is a good thing....but change is never easy, and it will not come without resistance.
12 days before the ELA...said my NYC educator brainwashed self.
Worry more about their emotions and your classroom culture overall...said the good teacher that worries more about them than about whether they are a 2 or a 3.

This too shall pass....and at the end it will be me, and my babies....and eventually, just my babies.
For I, too, will be gone come September.
But I will be gone in the right way.
I will leave them smarter. More confident. More able to handle whatever life throws at them.
And they will always be mine.
But this is not a healthy place to work, or develop as a professional, and it is time to move on.
They will not be abandoned by me. They will be empowered. And she will be just another person who couldn't handle them.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

15 days...

And I don't understand why life revolves around the ELA.

But it does.

Last night we were sitting on the couch, eating dinner, and my boyfriend asks me a question to which I respond, "There's only 16 more days until the ELA."
Thank goodness he puts up with me.
And that soon the test will be over.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Today we were talking about electricity, starting with figuring out what the kids already knew.
I was surprised about how much my kids knew about Benjamin Franklin and his experiment. As the kids began to discuss replicating Franklin's experiment, I reminded them of how his experiment was very dangerous, and how he's lucky he didn't die, which led the kids to discuss how they would change his experiment if they were him. They are, afterall, experts in the design of scientific experiments :)
"I would wear rubber shoes," said Malik.
"I would put rubber tires all around me," said Ken.
"I would use a dummy," said Adony.
"A dummy?" asked Joshua.
"How would you know if the dummy got shocked?" someone else asked.
"A dummy?" Joshua asked again.
"Yeah, a dummy, so then you wouldn't risk your life," said Adony.
"But dummies have feelings!" exclaimed Joshua, a look of utmost concern on his face.
It took every ounce of control to hold back my laughter....there had been a misunderstanding...and only I had caught it.
"No they don't!" exclaimed Malik! "They're dummies!"
"DUMMIES HAVE FEELINGS!!" exclaimed Joshua.
Now he was upset. Fists banging on desk, standing up in was time to intervene.
"Yo - they're like dolls," said Adony.
"What?" asked Joshua.
"Like the kind they use to test cars," clarified Adony.
"Oh," said Joshua.
And I smiled....and so did Joshua....and eventually we carried on our conversation, but not before a much needed, tension breaking laugh.