I have clearly been having a very difficult time in my classroom. I was surprised with a brand new student on Monday who has had really terrible things happen to her at both her old school and in her home. I felt completely unprepared for a new student in my class on Monday (NO ONE told me...no e-mail, no questioning, no nothing.) I think it was just a lack of time and everyone being spread too thin at my school right now, what with us going charter and a huge turnover happening, but I do hope this does not happen again. I am not easily ruffled by these sorts of things--things happen--but in order to serve the children, I need to be prepared for them with materials and at least a few minutes notice to prepare myself to do some community-building activities with the group. The day was rough. Yesterday was rougher. My new student was shouting at everyone, constantly in her backpack, stomping around, refusing to come to the rug, etc. She bopped someone with a pencil, got sent out of the room 2 times, and I was in tears on my lunch break. I felt at a complete loss-- how could I better support her? How come things were falling apart?
My patience has been worn thin and I've been listening so much to what other people tell me--be meaner, do this, do that, but really what I needed to do was calm myself down, go back to what I believe in about children, and bring my sense of humor and silliness back to the class. This is not to say I'm not a strict teacher--oh my, I have high expectations for these children. If they so much as turn their back while I'm teaching, I'm on them. I interrupt myself to do this constantly, but I expect 100% attention. If you're worried about the person's shoe behind you, you're not learning. End of story. However, I give lots of reminders and need to get back to an immediate logical consequence for negative behaviors. Anyway, I did enjoy teaching today and watched as my students quietly enjoyed workshop time (which I threatened to take away since so many people were looking at the computers, wandering around, etc.) I've been changing workstations, making them more engaging, etc, etc, but the procedures and routines have just gotten too loose. I used to revel in workstation time...but these past two weeks I've been hanging my head and not able to pull any groups because I have children coming up to me left and right, hanging out by the computers, etc. NO MORE, PEOPLE.
Again, this turned into a rant. Bottom line, this can be done. I do love these kids, and they do know what to do in school. If one more kid slides across that floor though, I am going to exploooodeeeeeee.