But December has its issues, too.
Today included the following (remember, this is out of 22 students):
V. was assigned In School Suspension for defying another teacher on Friday and laughing, talking, and climbing a fence. ISS at our school means the student has to sit off to the side of the rest of the class (we only have a room to use part of the time and a staff member to sit in it the other part of the time). V. didn’t want to be in ISS, and didn’t want to work, and didn’t want to remain upright and off of the floor. This was an all-day issue evidenced by multiple phone calls, visits, and reminders to V. With 30 minutes to go V. decided he should go home. He wanted to call his guardian. I explained that he could, but that when he did he’d have to explain the actual reason he wanted to leave (to get out of ISS) and that I didn’t think it was his best plan. He called anyway. No such luck on the home-going and now V. has given away the fact that he was misbehaving. Much sighing and floor-rolling commenced. Data entered into computer.
J. #1 was assigned ISS for laughing and fence-climbing (see above). His ISS was only for half of a day because when he was told to stop laughing and fence-climbing, he did (more or less). Turns out J. didn’t want to be in ISS either. He took fewer reminders though, before he got the hint. BUT, the first period he returned to class he decided to pull his pants down (shorts on underneath–don’t freak out) and waddle around like an old man for the guest teacher. Back to ISS he went. This led us to a phone call home. The phone call home involved multiple people because his guardians do not speak English. J. was quite surprised to hear this call would be made and immediately regained his composure (What??? When does THAT work with my kids?)
J. #2 does not like to work. So he didn’t. This is an all-day affair. It also includes J. wandering around the room looking for toys to play with while he does not work, said toys being removed from his reach, and more wandering. It also includes discussions, detention, ISS, and phone calls home. No change in behavior. Many emails to parents, therapist, and staff to schedule a parent conference–again. Data entered into computer.
Another student came with an injury that required a phone call to Child Protective Services. This is a serious determination to make on my own, and required many phone calls and emails. It also means I have to find a 30 minute period of uninterrupted time during which to call. This is rarely possible and required the juggling of cats. Then there is a form to fill out and a fax to send. Sending the fax calls for leaving the room which did not happen between the hours of 8:30 and 4:15.
Grades are due. Many emails and phone calls were made in order to get them out today. Also, probation letters written and signed by the principal for our two students receiving D’s and F’s (Yes, only two!!! It’s possible I work harder than they do to earn them, but I’m trying to teach them what success feels like. More on that another time)..
J. #4 and C. forgot how to add and subtract. Both have lower than average IQs, but both are entirely capable of adding. J.#4 told me she couldn’t do the following problem “What is 200 more than 8900?” Then she couldn’t do “What is 1 more than 37?” J. #4 knows how to add. We’ve been working on it for a year and a half. C. forgot, but then remembered. Then C. forgot how to convert decimals to fractions, so we reviewed that, too.
The district writing assessment is due this week. The little Piggies know how to do this, but freaked out when it was time to do the assessment. They forgot everything they knew, told me they couldn’t do it, hated reading, hated writing, didn’t know how to write, didn’t know how to read. Much pep-talking and reminding ensued. They remembered some of it. This will continue tomorrow.
J #3 refused to read today (see above). Refusal is mildly acceptable, but constantly talking to the Piggies trying to read was not. He was eventually sent to another room to complete the reading but refused all day. All alternate assignments offered also refused. Detention assigned, data entered into computer. Emails sent to coordinate meeting to discuss his behavior plan which does not appear to be the magic fix (sarcasm here).
C. was rude during her lunch detention today. Discussion with C. Further lunch detention assigned. Data entered into computer.
New photography unit started today. The 6th and 7th grade Piggies were not able to listen, so little progress was made. Will try again tomorrow.
Multiple students earned PE detention. I held it in my room during my prep period. This means no bathroom break, but it provides opportunity to try to get into the heads of the detainees. Small dent into psyche was made for J #2 and V #1. Am quite certain psychic dent pops back into place the minute they leave the room.
M. ripped a hole in her sweatshirt at PE. Taking it home to sew it for her.
V. #2 came to “help out” after school because this is where she gets her human interaction for the day (not at home). I found something for her to do.
And, *sniff sniff* I have a cold.
The point today? Any time you read about how education is failing our kids, remember what it is our society is asking education to do these days. I love my little piggies, I even love them on days like today. Their issues don’t make me angry at them, they make me worried for them. So that is the point. That, and I’m tired and think sympathy would be extra-special nice. That, that, and I think y’all might want to wish a teacher well this holiday season. They’re bustin’ their butts out there!