Thursday, October 10, 2013

Control freak.

For those who know me, I'm the opposite of a control freak. As we speak, half of the dishes I was supposed to clean this morning are still in the sink, half in the running dishwasher. There is a load of laundry in the washer that's been sitting in there since yesterday. I bought some frames a week ago that are still sitting on the coffee table. I am not at all stressed by messes or disarray.
HOWEVER. In the classroom, it's a different story. I'm still absent minded, I still leave whiteboard markers and my phone and my coffee all over the room, asking in the nicest way possible for students to find them for me. But when it comes to sitting on the rug, I all of a sudden feel like a CONTROL FREAK. At my old school, it was pretty normal to hound students about sitting correctly, where to put their eyes, etc. Walking in the hallway was a silent endeavor (not because I necessarily believe students need to be silent while walking, but for safety reasons and mostly because we were inside a building and other students were learning in other classrooms. Here, the students behave wonderfully with their teachers, but I have had yet to see a teacher give a time-out (other than myself.) The students also tend to careen down the hallways, sometimes even screaming at recess. This puts me into control freak overdrive.
I feel that I am forever telling the kids to go back and walk. To do it again. To keep it in their brain. To take a break, we don't actually touch each other's faces on the rug for fun. And today...the inevitable happened. I made a Kindergartener cry. At my old school, this was a normal occurrence. Students who wanted to do their own thing and then were woken up by annoying insistence that they stay with us would sometimes cry, not used to being told "no." That first time being told NO in a really firm way is a quite upsetting experience, and I get that. And from here I think I will see immense progress with this student.
He is adorable. Comes in every day so excited, speaks only a little English, is absolutely brilliant, and WON'T STOP TALKING. Ever. I of course give time for translating to make sure the kids understand what they're supposed to do or talk about, but I mean...constantly giggling, hopping around, making faces, basically being a typical 5 year old. He doesn't understand much English, so I believe his coping mechanism is playing. I would probably do that too. But today... we went to our seats to draw a map of the classroom. Little muffin KNEW what we were supposed to do...I had his friend tell him in Mandarin, and make sure he knew. He proceeds to draw his mom flying out of the window of his house like a witch. He even told me! I told him his picture was fun, but we were drawing our classroom so please try again. I had a different student translate. They said he understood. I pointed to the model. Then he turns over the page and starts laughing hysterically and scribbling and drawing swords. I took his paper and crayons away from him, told him I'd give him another chance when he was ready to do what we were doing, and he put his head down and cried.
I came back a few minutes later and gently asked him to try again, but he was still sad. Until it was time to go, he hurriedly drew his classroom and then ripped a paper off the corner of his map and made dollar signs all over it.
He handed me the paper and said "For you. Dollars." As an apology. I nearly cried too. I bet he won't goof off to that extent again. The new ELD specialist for the school arrives next Friday, so I'll be there one more week. Better enjoy these muffins (and the two preps a day!) while this lasts.

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