Today's update is all about the sophmore slumps - which I'm apparently right in the middle of. What are the sophmore slumps, you might say? Well, after one year of doing something I thought I had been making progress but apparently I have not. I'm past the little gains and I'm into the minutae of teaching and how difficult it can be to make big gains.
And I'm running out of energy. My health isn't any worse but the continual effort that I need to provide in order to keep up with 40 freshman in my room 5 times a day is daunting. I've been maintaining myself with just getting by. Unfortunately, that's not good enough. Not only do I need to be here giving lessons every day to help the kids learn what's on the benchmarks but I also need to step it up and get the classroom under control, help my class to run smoothly, and control these kids. Basically, I need to control these kids.
And I'm so tired. In fact, I'm getting exhausted. I don't know how long I'm going to be able to keep this up. I love teaching but I keep turning back in my mind to the fact that I seemed to have more control of my students last year than I do this year and I don't know why.
The only major difference between last year and this year is the classroom composition, the subject, the stars, and my demeanor when teaching. I think that the class being made up of freshman isn't a big change. Most of my kids last year, regardless of age or class standing, were squirrel-ly and a little nuts. I just was able to control them better - which I was finally able to do through the seating chart. I need to control the seating chart in order to control the students. However, the students in my class this year have claimed that they are not able to bring their books because they are "too heavy" or too far away. I think that I'm going to have to do something about that. Another teacher in my building uses the tired and true method of having the kids write "I will remember my materials" 25 times. That will motivate the students to do what is asked of them. I need to think of a positive reward for students that bring their books all the time. That would be effective.
There are other differences this year. For one, I don't like my students as well. I really enjoyed getting to know my students last year and the rapport that I developed with them might have had something to do with the fact that they respected me as much as they did. Unfortunately, they saw me as "one of the kids" and didn't really think I was an adult. I decided this year to take the road of "adult" and I dress and act more professional than I'm inclined to be. This might have been a mistake on my part. I need to figure out what my style is for teaching and stick to it. Actually, I just need to figure out what works.
Also... different from last year is the fact that I'm not doing positive reinforcement visually. That might have everything in the world to do with my students are acting so horribly. Ugh.