Wednesday, February 16, 2011

All is well that ends well (or Still wanting to make a difference)

As I have mentioned before, I put some thought into my blog post titles. Sometimes I try to make them witty (so I like to think) or at least interesting. I read about a half dozen or so blogs on a regular basis (meaning I check them most days of the week), and I read another half dozen or so when I am willing to spend the time (probably more like once per week or less often). On top of those, I sometimes check out the blogs that other people link to. And what gets me to click on that link is an interesting (to me, anyway) post title. I don't care so much about getting a lot of people to read my blog; I write it for myself. But I am not going to lie. I find it satisfying, gratifying, something-fying when I see that people have actually stopped by to read my blog and especially to post comments, particularly when I have written something that I am hoping someone will either testify to or at least make me feel better. And I often wonder what makes those people, aside from my "regulars," check out my blog.

But I digress, as usual. Most of the time, I want my post titles to mean something. If I have an idea for a post, then I want my title to reflect that. Sometimes, however, my posts starts in one direction and end up going in a completely different one. As a result, my title will either not make too much sense, I will have to change the title, or I will just abandon the post for now. This probably should have been one of those posts.

Today's post, aside from that explanation above, is about my substitute teaching this week. Monday was a rough day. The kind of day that made me think that God is trying to give me a really obvious sign that I am not meant to teach. I am just not so good at gaining or keeping control of the bigger classrooms. In one of the classes, a few boys who are normally quiet and do not join in the disrespectful antics of a half dozen others, actually did just that. I know their moms pretty well, so I was surprised and disappointed. I sent a couple of kids to the front of the room at different times (something I know some of the teachers do), and it did not do much good. Later in the day, I had another large class of which at least a dozen would not stop talking. The kids had Valentine's Day parties starting only 15 minutes into the period, and when the time came, I refused to let them go. Their teacher came to get them, and I told her until they could all be quiet, they were going nowhere. It took over five minutes for every single child to stop talking, stop coughing, stop giggling, etc. When I heard complete silence for five seconds, I told them to go, because I really could not see the silence lasting much longer and I was afraid that they would never leave!

I felt like a failure at the end of the day, and really did not want to come back the next day, which I was scheduled to do. But, of course, I did. Because "tomorrow is a new day" has become my teaching (i.e., forgiveness/moving on) mantra. And yesterday was better. I still had some problem kids. Students who just cannot seem to stop talking when I am. It does not matter if I stand there in silence waiting for others to do the same, if I raise my voice, if I turn off the lights, or do something else. There are just kids who, as unfathomable to me as it is, just don't stop talking and/or fooling around. And I know part of the problem is the large classes of 28. That is just too many kids, especially, sadly, the way a number of today's kids act.

But the day ended up okay overall. I did my best to encourage the kids as much as I could in gym class. I pointed out bad behavior as I saw it, and I let some things go because quite frankly, I have no idea how to deal with some of these kids. I won't give up on most of those, but I also have to be glad I have the ones who seem to respect and listen to me. Sometimes hearing a kid say she is glad I am here, or getting a hug from someone is enough to outweigh the other stuff.

I am not ready to throw in the towel yet. I still really, truly want to make a difference in at least some kids' lives. I want to teach them as best as I can, and I want as many of them to learn from me as possible. I am not sure if this is what I am "meant" to do. But for now, until something else comes along, or God gives me a few more obvious signs, this is what I am going to do.

But, alas, tomorrow's interview, in a complete different field, for temporary, but full time (something I have not done since the summer of 2003) work, might end up changing all that.

For now, let's just go with all is well that ends well.

2 comments:

chris h. said...

I still can't grasp that kids act this way in class, especially young kids, especially in a Catholic school! Do you think it's because they have no fear of punishment (either at home or at school) because they've never experienced anything beyond a 5-minute "time out"?

Facie said...

Chris, believe me, I am amazed almost every time I sub. As I have said before, Jordan can be disrespectful to me, but she knows better than to do it in front of a teacher. My guess is that some parents feel they are entitled and they are raising their kids the same way. And, yes, I believe lack of discipline is a big problem.