Still very sick. Didn’t go in to school on Friday. That morning, I called the office to let them know, and of course, who picked up but my principal. However, instead of giving me a hard time, even though it was a Friday and even though my co-teacher also called out, he was really understanding, and told me to feel better.
What a contrast from my former principal.
Bad thing that happened today: I got very sick. Upper respiratory infection with a complementary ear infection, unknown whether bacterial or viral, so I can’t get a prescription for at least three days.
Good thing that happened today: I explained to all of my kids how lousy I felt, and they were very patient and respectful during class.. for the most part. A couple of knuckleheads earned detention for chewing gum, but even they were respectful about the detentions.
One kid in particular volunteered to be my “Assistant Teacher,” which was highly amusing.
Every middle school grade has the knucklehead class. It’s usually the class that’s too smart for its own good and not challenged enough, so the students begin to get bored.
This year’s knucklehead class had to undergo a detention with me yesterday to practice lining up quietly. Having had them right after recess today, I naturally braced myself for hell.
By contrast, they were amazing. A class formerly silent at best had dozens of hands shooting up in the air to answer questions during what is normally the most disconnected period of the day.
Had to give three detentions today for chewing gum in science (illegal bc experiments with chemicals). All three students showed up on time and were respectful in detention.
In fact, I have not yet had to write a referral this year for skipped detentions. Let’s hope it stays that way…
(By contrast, I can’t even count the number of referrals I’d had to give out at this point last year..)
Forgot to post yesterday.
One good thing that happened was that I made some progress on certain confidential problems arising this year… we’ll see how that pans out.
Forgot to post yesterday. Highlight of the day happened when I lined students up outside my room after lunch. A student said something to me that was only *slightly* poorly-phrased, and before I could even open my mouth to respond, another student interrupted him with, “You need to check your grammar right now.”
There is a student in my class this year known for starting three fires in the bathroom last year, bringing a knife to school on multiple occasions, and being carted off school property by officials for threatening to kill several teachers last spring.
So, naturally, I decided that we should be friends. Things were going well, until he made an absolutely inappropriate comment about slavery in class today. I gave him a detention.
I’ve given him a detention once before, and had to just about hog tie and drag him with his two homeroom teachers to serve it, him hemming and hawing all the way about how he shouldn’t have to serve detention for swearing, and how he couldn’t wait for high school.
This time, I decided to try a different approach. I told him that I was going to do something big. Something huge. He said, “Miss, watchu going to do to me?” and I replied, “I’m going to trust you. I’m not going to chase you down, or even tell your homeroom teachers you have a detention. I’m just going to wait at my door and trust that you’ll come.” And he did.
We had a brief conversation about slavery, in which I clarified that, yes, the North also had slaves, and, yes, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and countless other “leaders of the fight for freedom and independence” had slaves, and, yes, in fact, slavery still exists today. He didn’t believe me on the third point, so I showed him the trailer to “Not My Life,” a documentary released three years ago that chronicled a four-year journey across five continents in an attempt to show the world that slavery is, heartbreakingly, still a thing.
He watched, eyes wide, mouth gaping. At the end I asked, “What have you learned?” He looked at me gravely and said “Alright, miss. I gotchu. No more jokes on that.”
He may well slip up tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day. It’s middle school, after all. But I’m calling this one a victory for now.
My co-teacher surprised me with flowers today :)
Forgot to write one for yesterday.
Had Open House for parents. Last year, one of my students’ mother passed away suddenly from cancer. She was diagnosed in the winter, and within two months, she died. She left behind four daughters with no relatives to care for them. The eldest was stationed in Germany when she passed. She got custody of her three sisters.
Last night, I met that sister, and got to hear from her that the military transferred her to MA so she could care for her sisters, and that the sister I’d had last year was doing really well. She was one of my favorite students, and I only realized after we swapped contact information what a load off of my shoulders it was to know that she and her sisters were safe and well.
Today was sort of a good day overall, despite it being a Monday and my back being in intense pain. My students are falling into my routines. Many are teaching themselves sign language for “bathroom” and “water,” and volunteering for class jobs. One student named Octavious (This class has the best names ever. There’s also an Athena, a Dante, and a Hercules.) manages to make me laugh every single class.
Fingers crossed it stays this way…