I don't know if it is the anticipation of next week or what, but this week has just been horrible. Today I broke one of my two goals I set for myself at the end of Institute (1. Say something positive to someone everyday, 2. Do not cry during the school day). It was #2.
I had a horrible first period where students refused to work on the project I assigned them. The students who were their to learn are having a HORRIBLE experience in that class. They don't get to work in silence, they do not get to enjoy the class, and they never finish work when they should. It is all because of my management too. I have two (sometimes four, but mainly two) students who make my classroom a horrible place to be in 1st period. They are disruptive, rude, inconsiderate, and just don't give a shit about what is going on.
Anyway it all came to a head after that horrible hour when those two students returned to me for their 2nd time (during a 30 minute remediation). They refused (again) to do the work that was assigned for the period. They complained and complained. Then one of them started to work and I thought he was being respectful and putting effort in and then while I was helping him through a worksheet he said an absolutely disgusting comment to me about my appearance.
And unfortunately that was my last straw. I held it together for the rest of the period, saying that if I heard him say one more word I would write him up, but as soon as they left I had to excuse myself for a few minutes. I just feel really beat down, and sadly I know it's my fault. I've been too nice, I've been too concerned with making excuses for them. If I don't force responsibility onto them, they will never take it. They are incredibly predictable in that regard.
I'm pretty upset with myself that I let it a) get to this point and b) showed this weakness to anyone who saw me in those moments. I went to the Principal's office and asked him to step him my classroom while I relaxed a bit. He was wonderful and did so right away which really helped me out. After a few minutes I came back, and realized that everything was okay. It was a new class, new students, and a new attitude. So slowly I moved into the lesson (although the students could CLEARLY feel my mood and didn't push me at all that period). They were super respectful, did their work quietly, and will be prepared for the test tomorrow, unlike that 1st period class.
In the past few weeks people have asked me if I hate those two kids like they do, and I always say no. I actually really liked them, I thought they were good kids that just needed some attention. Today really changed that, because you know what, no matter if they need the attention or not -- they know exactly what respectful means, and what it doesn't. And they made the choice to make my life difficult, they made the choice not to do the homework, they made the choice to refuse to take a test. And that is not acceptable anymore. I am not just going to give them a 0 and call it a day, I am going to now give them a 0 and write them up.
Tomorrow starts a new system for that class alone, and man, I hope it works. I just don't want to hate that class like I do right now. I want them to learn.