Sunday, May 11, 2008

Let the Countdown begin...

Yes folks, I have only 10 more days of school and I'm counting the hours and minutes until I can walk out of that classroom. One of those days is an in service day, one is a 1/2 day, and one is Fun Fest, so if you are really talking about real "instructional" (and I say that loosely as we all know the last week of school is about me giving kids busy work so I can somehow complete the mound of paperwork required to send these kids on the to next grade) time I only have 7 days left. The mere thought of finally being rid of this particular class makes me break into a fine rendition of "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands..."!!! In two weeks when I head off to the beach I'll be changing the lyrics to "If you're happy and you know it have a cocktail"...I'm not a lush, so don't go AA on me but this year has been really difficult.

For all of the non-educators out there, I know you find this hard to believe. How could 8 and 9 year olds be so difficult. They shouldn't be, but this in a nutshell is what I've been battling:

* 5 boys that have made up their own gang, complete with graffiti, hand signs, and a name...this has been going on all year. They are B.A.D., rude, disrespectful, and just plain unlikeable. Sorry people, I'm being honest here. All year long I cannot get a complete sentence out of my mouth (maybe that is one reason they cannot write a complete sentence...they've never heard one) before they are looking around at each other sharing hand signs and laughing. I told them all if I see them them put their hands in any kind of funny 'sign' I would give them so many write offs their pencil would be permanently stuck to their hand as they go into 4th grade next year. Do you think that kind of discipline is going to win me any 'Teacher of the Year" award??

* 3 ADHD kids NOT on any medication. I'm not a proponent of drugging our children, just drugging them when I'm expected to teach them something. I promise if any of the parents in question had to actually be with these kids for 7+ hours a day and if they were held accountable for actually teaching them a skill they would do something about their children's lack of ability to sit for longer than 10 seconds. These kids will be whisked away to daycare and/or summer camp before you can say "School's out!" and next year the teacher will have the exact same problems I've had. The parents will promise to do something, but yet do nothing. Perpetuating the problem so the kids will have virtually no success in school and will begin hating it. This could lead me into a whole other topic of 'if parents could actually parent and discipline their children we wouldn't have to medicate them' but that is another story.

* One boy came to our room in December and quickly 'joined' the aforementioned gang. He is repeating 3rd grade after he should have gone to summer school. He decided not to get up and attend so therefore he has to repeat the whole grade. He comes to school when it's convenient for him, usually he chooses "bankers hours" know he'll roll in about 9am after we are finished with at least one subject for the day. He's smart, in fact so smart he knows how the system works so he knows he can't fail again no matter how lazy he is. He'll be a great citizen because of these wonderful lessons he's learned from watching his parents raise him so well. (notice my sarcastic voice here)...I'm thinking of nominating his parents for 'Parent of the Year'.

* One boy in my room is involved in a custody battle between mom and dad. I was subpoenaed into court one day to testify in this situation.

* One boy has severe emotional issues and has an undiagnosed mental illness that makes it impossible to function in a typical school day. It's 'undiagnosed' because mom has refused testing for so long that nobody wants to fight her about this. It's hard to tell her the truth because she has only an elementary education herself and thinks with every conversation that we're just wanting to 'put him in resource'. Really that is not the goal here, the goal would be that your son had the communication and social skills of a 10 year old (he's been held back before too) and not a 2 year old. The goal would be that your son could go to recess and play with other children instead of stand and cry and scream for no apparent reason. The goal would be that I could get through the day without some adult asking me what is wrong with this which I have to respond "don't know". This 5-star mom sent me a note with the last report card (in which I gave the kid a D+ in Reading) and it said how I was an awful teacher and I hadn't "learned him anything this year" everything he has learned she taught think, because I couldn't tell???????????????

* Another boy has major problems at home with crazy parents and as such deep emotional problems he can't control or doesn't control his need to go to the bathroom. He has a BM on himself every day, several times a day in fact. He wears pull ups (now) and misses a lot of class because he spends his time in the bathroom or nurses office changing himself each day. It's so sad, again I could explain a lot here but it would be TMI!!

* One girl saw her dad die of a drug overdose last year and her mom gave her up to live with her grandmother. She's lived through a lot!

* One boy is a kleptomaniac, steels anything within reach. He gets mad frequently and pushes his books off his desk and throws his desk and chair around. MAJOR problem, but I actually kind of like this kid.

* One girl in my room lost her mother this year, she and her 2 siblings moved in to live with an aunt who is fabulous, but not her mom. She's buried her mom, moved to another state, changed schools, moved into another living situation, and has earned straight A's all year...she's a superstar! But, still I haven't had time to help her deal with her life because of the other idiots in my classroom.

Do you see why I need a drink on my vacation???????? These are just the problems I'm rambling off at the top of my head. I haven't even gotten to the actual teaching part. After I've dealt with these emotional and behavioral problems I love the fact that I have 10 minutes left in the day to teach the other 7 subjects! I really have some (very few) students who are super sweet and well behaved. I want to tell their parents I'm sorry their child has had to deal with such...but isn't that a good life lesson for them?

As I close, I want to tell all of the fabulous teachers out there "Happy Teacher Appreciation Week"...did you know you should have appreciated the teacher in your life this week? Probably not because it's warped in with Mother's Day, Graduation, Nurses Day, among other Hallmark created events. I'm so lucky that my school did 'appreciate' the teachers by creating a 'spa' in one of our vacant portables. We were able to go during planning for a massage and yummy food. Our wonderful administration gave us a school logo polo shirt and said 'Thank You". Sometimes that is the best gift of all..

If you are a teacher in need of a great laugh or just love teacher stories, check out this blog. It's so funny and I can usually relate to everything she has said.


Laurie said...

Found you on Danielle's site and really enjoyed reading a bit from your blog tonight. I taught grades 7/8 for 12 years before staying home with my daughter. Sadly, I can relate to many of your stories, although I doubt I ever had a year packed with THAT many issues. Luckily (?), my students moved on each hour and I got a new batch to teach. :) Happy counting down!! :)

bbmomof2boys said...

I too found you off of Danielle's site. I'm totally shocked that these are 3 grade students! You are WONDERFUL to stick to your guns and continue to teach - I wish all teachers had your spirit and motivation!! Thank you for teaching our kids!!!


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Amy Maze said...

Since this is my blog, I have the freedom to speak how I truly feel about my life, my career, and anything else I might want to write about. Maybe you need to be an educator to fully understand my comments. You can get your own blog to write about your thoughts!

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