Sunday, February 3, 2008

Last week

Walking down the hallway on Friday to punch out, I was a walking zombie. Last week was probably the toughest since the 1st. What made it so difficult? I guess while I have been continuously defining the teacher within me, I have had some major developments, or realizations recently. Not only do I have to work much harder with the teachers that I am working with to make sure that I am fully co-teaching, but my whole take on teaching has to shift. Tonight I made several phone calls to parents. My students are quite comfortable with me. And that has worked to my advantage for the first few months, but is seemingly back-firing. I have to be a more strict, more definitive, more controlling teacher.

This process of becoming the teacher I want to be is no joke. Middle school is no easy feat either. I am trying to rewind my mind- taking it back to being 12 years old. Acne, girls, farting inappropriately, not wanting to be smart, fresh clothes, clean sneakers, poor body odor, not turning homework because I thought I would “look better”, multiple school suspensions: Middle school was some of the toughest times of my life:-a time period I could never relive and a time period I wish so desperately to re-live.

What would I do differently, what would I omit?


Hugh O'Donnell said...

I don't know if there's a technical term for it, but interacting with students, for me, was a mix of respect, honesty and accountability on both sides, vulnerability (you're human), honest caring, social distance, humor, leadership...and a willingness to gently kick some ass as well as give generous praise where it's merited.

Thanks for stopping by RepairKit!

NYC Teaching Fellow said...

thanks hugh.. thats exactly what i needed..

jose said...

Keeping it real right now, middle school is kinda gangsta and it takes a real g to stick around. high school, even from what i've seen in my grads now, must be 20x easier. but anyways, keep on keepin' on sir.

subtext said...

The main thing I remember from teaching 8th grade English for 15 years is: they already have friends, they have parents as well no matter how piss poor some of their parents are at parenting; they need a responsible caring adult who, as hugh said, is respectful, funny, competent in the field, as willing to be firm as well as hand out legitimate praise (they see through phonies faster than shit through a goose).
I liked middle school, I moved to high school because I wanted a change. There is not that much difference.

Anonymous said...

I find middle school very challenging, especially because as you write I find it really hard to move back to those days and truly understand their feelings and the way they percept the world.

Classroom management is another challenge. It takes some time to get the hang of it and to see what works well with you and your students. Take it one day at a time. Know that if one day was less succesful, you can start anew the next day. That thought helped me tremendously.