It has been a rough start to the school year. Just rough. As I've said before...lots of crying (um, TEACHERS crying, not students...ok, well they cry too, but that's hardly shocking), rampant gossip and The Great Parking Crisis. Oh yeah, and I'm still mourning my class from last year and trying to find things to love about my current friends.
So, yes, you might say that I have a lot on my plate for September. (Is it only September??? I am so tiiiirrred!) And you might also say that I have a bit of a short fuse. Maybe.
As many of you who are teachers already know, September is the time of year for setting up routines. (This process has also been referred to as "breaking little spirits"...)
In all fairness, I am finding that some of my new friends are super cute. We have moved from vacant blank stares into actually starting to think for ourselves which is something. And they've finally stopped constantly begging for water and the bathroom. Progress, right? (Be careful, I'm on a bit of an edge here....)
Then there's this one boy. Who's huge. Huge as in height, huge as in weight and huge as in annoying. (Was that out loud? Bad teacher!) Seriously, for someone so huge, he is the biggest baby I have ever had in my classroom. In the last few days he has (among other things) made a habit of shouting out, has hit several children, refused to do any work despite the fact that he is completely capable, cried, kicked furniture, thrown pencils, glued his hands together and hummed so loudly that children around him fled to quiet corners of the room on their own.
If I ask everyone to sit on the carpet once, I have to ask him four times. Everyone puts their backpack away and sits down in the first five minutes, he takes twenty minutes and constant supervision. When everyone else listens, he hums or bangs on his desk. When everyone else is working, he does his damndest to F it all up.
Long story short...he is on my last nerve. (I'm imagining frantically circling the block to find parking for this?? I'm supposed to do it "for THIS kid" too?) And the last nerve of all of my new friends too.
Today, he yelled at another kid to "shut up." (The child at whom he was yelling was not making any noise, by the by.)
The other child looked up and said, " you're telling ME to shut up??!? You NEVER shut up!"
And I knew it was time. We had an emergency class meeting, with Big Boy, in which we talked about how his behavior made everyone else feel. There was no pointing, no tattling, and no name calling allowed. My friends were only allowed to say how Big Boy's behavior made them feel.
They were brilliant.
"I feel upset because you are wasting our learning time and I want to learn." (who knew?)
"I am angry because I don't like hearing Mrs. Mimi raise her voice." (Mrs. Mimi doesn't like the yelling either...)
"I am annoyed because she doesn't ask us to do anything we don't know how to do, so why can't you do it?" (I love you!!)
"I am sad because you make it hard for me to do my work." (Maybe you guys are kind of cute...)
Long story longer, it made me start to see how cute these new friends can be. And Big Boy ended up having the best day he's ever had.
It was kind of amazing (although I'm not sure how appropriate).