It's been a long year with my students since October. They came with a bad reputation, and except for a few weeks early in the year, they lived up to it.
You know, let me just insert here that sad truth about this rough class we've had. Not all of them are awful. In fact, there are so many who are darling and wonderful, but they are overshadowed. A class is determined by its worst students, no? You know it's so true.
Apathy has been a major battle all year. Although I do not have too many students who are failing, I have far too many who have Cs and Ds--and not because it is beyond their ability levels. For most of the year, the apathy has resulted in missing assignments, and worse yet, missing final writing assessments and major projects. Those students made the ones who turned in poor quality work look like geniuses. Such frustrating performance for an accelerated class.
Two of my classes are difficult to manage. Of course, one of them is my largest, and there are no more seats available for segregation. Not that it would matter. In that particular class, there are so many chatty Charlies and Cathies that I've given up on any useful seating configuration, except for five, whom you might think I pick on if you walked into my class, but they absolutely have to stay away from each other. That particular class has produced a record number of parent conferences, and for the most part, it has made no difference in anything. Despite all of our efforts, those students are just difficult...immature...distracted--super exasperating!
No joke, I am just plain mean to some of the students. I don't know what else you would expect of me after all we've been through. It would be nice if I could rise above to that teacher quality that makes me a super-being, but I'm just done with it all. My restraint in not screaming, "STFU!" and throwing actual daggers--not just the ones with my eyes--should be good enough. And what does mean look like? From the time they walk in my classroom, my foot is on their backs. Not literally of course. At this point in the year, they do not even have a chance to do the right thing before I assume they will do wrong. Don't shake your head and think, "She is creating the behavior. She should encourage them to do the opposite, and they will." Yeah, well, the psychological ship sank a while ago, and I'm in dying a slow death on a half-inflated life boat.
Oh, but wait! I see land in the horizon! Get me off this boat! HELP ME! Bring margaritas!
Yesterday, the students were working in groups to revise their last writing project and a few students asked me to sign their yearbooks, and so I passed mine around, too. It was a low-key day. I was cringing, hoping that nobody wrote something mean that would ruin the rest of my year, but nobody did. Some of my biggest irritants wrote long, sentimental notes about how they my class was really one of their favorites--even if they didn't do everything they should have... even if I did constantly yell at them...even if I did make them stand because they liked to sleep in class..even though they didn't get good grades, they learned new things. They thanked me for being a good teacher. They told me they would miss me.
Man, do I feel terrible for my animosity toward them at this time of the year.
Wait? Is this a manipulative trick orchestrated by students who use their intellect for evil? Let's get even for her being mean to us. Let's make her think everything was okay! Ten years from now she'll remember me for being one of her best!
I'm just paranoid. They're kids. They'll mature someday.
So, I guess I'll try to be more patient in the next 8 days.