September 16, 2009

Living in a Dream

Vegas Art Guy made a good point about me being where I should be considering my student were all on task after my last post. Things are going well!

I'm afraid to admit it...Something bad might happen...

Last year, I had such a horrible time at night school, and in the five years that I've worked there, each year is a crap shoot. Because the students earn credits by the quarter, each quarter can often be a crap shoot, too. For the most part, once the students start the year with me, they pretty well stay with me the whole year, but adding or subtracting students each quarter can severely change the dynamic of a class.

I have a small section (10 students) of seniors trying to pass their proficiency exams, and they are a pretty good group of students. Most of them have been at the school a few years, which means they are more likely to be leaders and know the rules. The classroom has tables, so everyday the boys come in and move the tables together so we sit all together around a long table. Of course in that setting, we're becoming like some dysfunctional family. Oh yes. Dysfunctional. We started off learning to write paragraphs, and we are just moving into forming full essays. Considering how remedial some of this stuff is, they have been cool. Most nights I can feel the gaps filling in. It's times like this I feel like I can be effective in teaching lower-level students. I'm happy with them, and they are happy with me. Tonight when they started getting wiggly, I told them that they were not going to be my favorite class anymore, and a couple of the boys furrowed their brows in concern: "Miss, are you serious? We're not your favorite anymore?" Man, that's rapport!

My other class is a little wilder, and at times so much more hopeless. Creative Writing. This year it's really creative writing, and not a facade for remedial writing, either. Most of the students have passed their exams, but that doesn't mean they really like writing that much. My only saving grace with them is that I've built a good rapport with them, too, and they like some of the assignments we've done. Somehow we are having a good time in there, too.

There are a couple of boys who are stubborn, but they don't act out, and I seriously doubt they'll be in the class next quarter because they aren't earning credits by constantly saying, "I'm not good at writing." How do I explain to them that there are only a couple of students in the class who are good at writing? Of course, I can't because then my rapport with the rest of them will fly out the window! I just keep saying, "It's okay. I'm just asking that you try..."

I'm just asking that they try. You know, that's all I'm asking of any of my alt students this year, and they are totally buying it. Some years, I wonder if I come off as a pushover, so students have not been inclined to just try. I'm not sure what's different this year, but I am thankful to have such a nice bunch of young people to teach in the evenings this year!

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