The Engaged Idealist

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 29 2014

Hardest Day so far

By the end of the first day I had learned everyone’s name. That should tell you something about this class. Visitors who are observing, and are in my class for 15 minutes at a time have started to learn all of my students’ names. That should tell you something. They aren’t bad kids, but they are chatty and out of control. About 10 years of schooling has done nothing to their behavior.

The chemistry class at our school only had one student to the first day. This means they took half of our students. The hard part was they seemed to only take our quiet students. To be fair, some of the more difficult students, like the one who wouldn’t take his test, we’ll call him F, were going to be moved and I had just built the relationship with him that I needed to get him motivated in my class.

I fought to keep him. That might sound insane considering my job would probably be a lot easier without him, but I knew that in the long run if he moved, even if he gives me trouble, he will probably fail if he is moved. I couldn’t let that happen. He’s a smart kid. Really smart. He is also leadership mentality and if was channeled in a different way he could move mountains. I don’t want him to lose that.

This was by far my hardest day. Not just because the kids were chatty and complaining about consequences. They do that all the time. They were actually being their usual selves, and although it is improving the non-motivation in the mornings is making them fail their worksheets. I need them to do well on these or they will fail. They are bright, and its usually the smartest kids who are doing the worst. They just put their heads down, and won’t even try.

On top of that, I have had no time to sleep or eat, let alone grieve. I don’t know how any of my teachers growing up never once complained openly about how much they needed to just be alone when they had a death in their family or friend groups. It didn’t occur to me how much it effects the day. I need some time, and I can’t seem to find any. That’s what is hard. It’s how selfless this job requires me to be. It’s a full-time job.

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