Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lost my shit

Consider that Pittsburghese for flipping out on my students.

But really, in terms of flipping out, it was really pretty mild, following a two step progression.

1. Smart ass student who has missed 6 classes, complains that he doesn't understand something that should be simple review. When I tell him that he must have missed it when he was absent, he makes a face and turns around in his seat to talk to the guy behind him. (neither are passing at the moment) He continues to talk to the guy, distracting from the quick grammar lecture I'm giving. I tell him to stop talking. He says, "I'm sorry, Kate. I'm really sorry." To which I reply, "You're always sorry, but what you really need to be is quiet."

Startled silence from the class, a few surprised looks. Lots of "ooooooh"ing.

2. Smart ass comments continue. More general talking while I'm at the board. I lose my train of thought and become so furious with the blatent disrespect that I can't continue. I turn to the class and hiss, "I am soooooo furious with you!" which I quickly amend to "Well, not all of you, but... Just check your grades. Just check your grades and see how you're doing, eh?"

Dead, stunned silence.

Silence continues and I am shocked to find how easy it is to get the lecture done now. A few students continue to ask relevant questions and I answer them. The rest of the class remains quiet.

SO.... clearly I have been way too nice to these kids. As a result, they've become disrespectful and smug. That's my fault. I own it. And even though it's hard to shift from being "easy" to being strict, I know it can be done. My other education books insist that it's never too late to fix your classroom. I hope they're right.

As much as I hate losing control like I did today, I think it might be just what this class needed.

We shall see.

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