I had a fascinatingly interesting day.
Of course, as it was happening I wasn’t thinking of it as fascinatingly interesting, I was thinking it was torture and that I should just give up teaching because I am so terrible at it. And those points are still worth looking into, but I’m trying to think constructively.
I had a smaller than usual group today – two kids absent, one of them my big Problem Child. Days without him are usually very different in a real nice, utopian way, but today was not. I also had two kids leave early for various reasons (dentist, eye doctor) and one go home sick. And another student – my super low student who has problem behaviors because of that – was pulled to work with specialist for a large chunk of the day.
But it was still CAHRAZY. And because it was a smaller group and toned down overall because of that, I really got to see the outlying behaviors of some (two, really) of my other students. I am in a place now where I still DO NOT know how to deal with them, but I have a clearer picture.
One boy – K – has had bullying and attitude issues all year and I’ve talked to his mom a bunch of times, etc. But today he was NUTS. Just, off the wall. It wasn’t even his usual brand of disruptive, so I’m hoping it was a fluke. Maybe he had a party filled weekend and is having trouble getting back into school mode, I don’t know – and I can certainly be sympathetic to that. We had a chat at the end of the day about coming ready to learn tomorrow and I hope that helps.
The other, also a boy – N – was doing his usual things but it stood out so much more without my serious problem student present. He is a kid with a sweet heart and the first time in my short teaching career I have really seen someone with so much trouble focusing or keeping his body still that I wondered about whether medication could help. I get tired watching him – not to mention trying to keep him from getting anyone else off task – and I truly do not think he has control over a lot of it. I don’t think he CAN keep from making those sounds, or moving his body like that, at least not as much as I wish he could.
I still have a long way to go to master classroom management. And I have to focus and remind myself that if I keep trying, it will come. I hope that is true. I know that I have improved as a classroom manager since last year, but I’m also so much more aware of what could be better than I was at this time last year. As so much more cognizant of the instructional time lost to behavior issues.
My mini goal going forward is to focus on giving myself a bit of a break – and by that I mean still trying as hard but not beating myself up when things don’t go well. I have mornings before school where I fill with dread and a sense of panic just because I’m convinced or worried that the day will go terribly wrong. And I am not the sort of person who’s best comes out under fear – exactly the opposite. I want to keep on taking chances but give my heart the space to have things go wrong and not take it as a knife in the gut.
Practically speaking, this also means I plan to pull Conscious Discipline back off the shelf and reconnect with some of the important stuff I had internalized earlier this year. I have a lot of great classroom management ideas in my head that people have shared or I’ve read about, but that books feels RIGHT to me personal philosophy in a way other things don’t, so I’m going to make it my focus.