Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh Good Lord

You would not believe the way kids behave in school these days.

I feel like I'm about 100 years old saying that, but I am truly shocked by the behavior I witnessed today. Prepare to be disgusted.

On Tuesday I started a sub job that will last through Friday. The first day went really really well. The teacher I am subbing for teaches Television Production in high school. His students produce the school's morning show. They are pretty independent and function decently without much intervention from me. I'm having the standard trouble with getting kids to come back when they use the restroom pass and getting them to stay quiet, but on the whole they're a good bunch. I can sit and work on my scarf basically all day while keeping a watchful eye on the kiddos doing their busy work. Yesterday I was praising whatever cosmic deity gifted me with such an easy position. Today, I don't feel so lucky.

The real trouble started after school, although the school day didn't go as well as yesterday did. I had a few kids sneak out through the production room exit (not even in the same room as the regular classroom so it's impossible to monitor everyone at once), and they were caught dallying in the halls and brought back by an administrator. Then I had too many kids figuring out how to play violent games on the bank of computers in the classroom. Yeah, I could go apeshit on them and kick everyone off the internet, but what would that accomplish? The kids have to do something and their teacher did not leave enough assignments to cover the period. This particular school is on block scheduling, so there are four periods in a day and they are each an hour and a half long. I don't care if I'm the Wonder Woman of substituting, I can't come up with enough crap to keep them busy that long (and frankly, it's not my job to do so anyway). I was too chill with the kids on Tuesday, and now I'm seeing the effects of that. You give them an inch and they take a mile every time. I'm going to have to be a Nazi tomorrow to recoup my losses.

But anyway, getting back to the real trouble of today. After the final bell had rung and the kids had left the classroom I was packing up and preparing to go home. A student suddenly entered the room and sat down in the chair next to my desk. I did not recognize this kid at all as he wasn't in any of the classes I am covering this week. So naturally, I lead off with, "What are you doing here?"

This particular student was a big tall guy. Much bigger than me. My alarm bells started going off when he replied, "Why do you have to be so mean?" in a flirty tone of voice. He continued with, "I'm here to show you a little lovin because I find you attractive."

I was in complete shock. I couldn't think of a good thing to say, so I sputtered out a lame "You can't talk to a teacher like that! You have to get out of here!"

He was unfazed and continued on with, "Damn, you're mean! I'm 18, I can say whatever I want. What, you mad cause you got a boyfriend?"

My senses finally started to return at this point and I answered with, "I have a husband, not that it's any of your business! You have to get out of here!" I was trying to be casual and mean, because at this point I was getting a little afraid. This student could easily overpower me and I was all alone. I wanted to be mean enough for him to get the point, but aloof enough for him to just give up without getting hostile. This was the best thing I could think of to do at the moment.

Thankfully, he left. Now that it's all over, I've thought of a million better ways I could have handled the situation. I'm mad that I missed the opportunity to really let him have it. In the heat of the moment though, I wimped out because I was afraid of him. Am I really cut out to teach if I am so easily intimidated by a student?

I didn't get into teaching to ward off sexual advances from idiots. Unfortunately, I'm not finding very many of the reasons I did get into teaching in any of the classrooms I cover. There are no eager students. There is no respect. There is absolutely no intelligent, creative or original thought anywhere to be found. There are plenty of mind games and lies though. Plenty of nasty, disgusting behavior and, apparantly, plenty of sexual harrassment. I'm disheartened and confused, to say the least. Can I possibly make a difference to any of these types of students? It honestly seems like most kids come to school for the free meals and babysitting.

So, after all that, I'm nervous about tomorrow. I have to go back for the next two days and I don't want to run into this kid again. I don't know his name to report him to anyone, so that option is out. I don't even know if I could pick him out of a lineup. I see so many different kids at every school every day. They all look the same to me.

Oh well, at least I have knitting to get me through these terrible days. My OWL shawl is growing steadily longer and it looks pretty good so far.

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I haven't made any more dumb mistakes, so progress has been good. I'm near row 70 now. Still many more rows left to go.

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It's tough to see the details of the pattern right now, since it's not blocked. Here's the best I could do by stretching it lightly:

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In other knitting news, the new assignment for History of Magic has been posted in the HPKCHC. It is to make an artictic representation of any character from the series using any craft medium. I have no idea what I will do for it yet. I like to do a little smbroidering, but my skill are still subpar in that arena. Good thing I have until Valentines Day to turn it in.

This will take some thought, as I don't like to do anything half assed. We'll see what I come up with . . .

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