Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Less stress is best

Today was a lot less stressful than I expected. Both the English teacher and the history teacher were back today, for one thing. And for another, I walked into math class with dread in the pit of my stomach -- only to find the kids sitting straight in their seats, absolutely silent, like little angels. For a couple of seconds I couldn't figure it out. Had she just screamed at them a minute before and scared them? Her screaming usually just makes them louder. Then I got to the back of the room and saw Juan, one of our administrators, sitting there observing. The kids like, respect, and fear him all at once -- I think he's the only staff member who has worked at the school since the first day it started a few years ago -- so they were completely well-behaved in front of him. If only he could sit in on all of Andrea's classes. ;O

It was a lucky day in other ways, too. For example, I took one kid out of English class and made him stay in the hall for a couple minutes as a time-out, because he kept talking, laughing, and messing around -- and the vice principal happened to walk by. "Why are you out of class so much?" he demanded. "It looks like we have to call your mother and have her come babysit you in class so you learn how to behave. Let's go call her now." And he stalked off, taking the kid with him. Well-played!

Cori told me one of the administrators sent her an e-mail saying that a (negative) letter would be put in her file regarding the exploding-pen vandalism incident that supposedly happened under her watch during indoor recess. Shouldn't they put a POSITIVE letter in her file about how she took over Amy's math class one period last week with no notice?? Unreal.

And the only other bad news: today during advisory, I did an activity with the kids where they had to give a thumbs up if they agreed with a statement I read, or a thumbs down if they disagreed. The last statement was, "I like me," and only one kid, Jonathan, put his thumb down. "I hate myself," he said matter-of-factly. And he wasn't kidding around -- he was serious. He's a nice kid, well-behaved. He said he used to get into a lot of fights, so it seemed related to that. I said, "But you seem like a peaceful person. You don't fight anymore, do you?"

"I guess not," he shrugged. But he said he still hates himself. He's 12! Doesn't he realize he has YEARS ahead in which to hate himself?? Ha ha. But seriously, I'm going to talk to the social worker about him. Maybe he's depressed and no one has realized it? :(


  1. What about Juan instills fear and respect among the students?

    I'm a university graduate advisor, but on the occasions in which I have to interact with American (yes, specifically American) undergraduates, I'm shocked at their rudeness, pre-emptive overt contempt, and lack of respect for any adult, much less those in authority. It is obvious that this attitude starts in the elementary schools.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Waitress! Well, Juan's the only staff member who has been at the school since it started; unlike most of the teaching staff, he's Hispanic and male, so a lot of the boys probably related to him more readily as a role model; and he's the one who calls parents about discipline issues. So, he definitely commands a lot of respect among the kids.
    And, I totally hear you on the rudeness of students, even college students. I once was a student in a graduate school class in which my fellow students were rude and disrespectful to the (adjunct) professor. And this was GRADUATE SCHOOL. :O

  3. Graduate school rudeness to an adjunct professor? Shocked! No kidding. I surmise the reason for proper behavior in the classes in my program is the 96% of my students are international. Yes, in fact, I do remember one petulant female, and, yup! American. Not to cast all aspersions, though. I hosted at my house for a week, a new female Chinese graduate student, and it was hell, with her pouncing on every word I said. And, if I do say so, my #2 niece, archetypal Millenial, is not only very well adjusted, socialiable, and an honor student, but so diplomatic she acts as a mediator between warring adults.