This morning I saw one of my former students decked out in Marine dress blues. He was waiting in the main office to see The Principal when I went down to my mailbox. My immediate reaction was, “DUDE, LOOK AT YOU!” because he’d undergone such a huge and awesome transformation since graduation. It was really cool to catch up with him for a few minutes.
That started the day off on a positive note.
And my first class was awesome. We got into a big discussion about the impact of warfare on young people after reading about Syrian teenagers trying to get an education during and after ISIS’ occupation of Raqqa. That was one of the news stories I pulled up to show students what’s currently happening in the region, and it really hooked them. I felt like it was a really meaningful class.
They had about twenty minutes to do their homework, too, so most were able to get it all done. Three of the boys decided that, while they were working, they should eat Jello cups with their fingers.
I offered them spoons, which was apparently an affront because they reacted with (fake) outrage. Like, how dare I imply that they couldn’t manage to eat Jello without the aid of utensils?
I’ve embraced the fact that ninth grade boys are not meant to be fully understood.
Flex time was good because a bunch of students came in to make up work, retake quizzes, have me edit papers, and so on- and, yay, for wanting to improve! Also, one student came in solely so that he could show me a video message from Senator Cory Booker to me, thanking me for teaching about current events and politics. The senator did a campaign stop while I was over during February break, and this student went with his dad, and went right up to the senator and asked him to give me a shout out. How cool is it that one of my students did that for me?
My Block 4 class was… not awful, but it was frustrating after everything else had gone so well. There’s a group of students I just haven’t been able to reach. They come in unprepared, disrupt class, try to use their phones when they shouldn’t, that kind of thing… I thought I’d gotten one student out of that group- he was opting to associate with other students, focus on his work, engage in class, etc…- but today he was back in it. I addressed all the problem behaviors and got on with the lesson; it just didn’t have the same impact it had earlier in the day.
I’m going to keep working to make that class better, though.
We had a team meeting during Block 5, which was interrupted by The Vice Principal. She had some things to share with us about the Very Bad Thing I alluded to yesterday. It’s really hurting a lot of our students- and a lot of adults, too- and I don’t know how long the recovery is going to be, but it’s definitely going to be a while…