Today I made it through my worst class ever. The one that I sent 9 kids out of in one class period. I almost quit because of that darn class. It was one of my New Orleans reading classes and they drove me nuts. They were not all bad kids, but it was a disastrous mix. Putting them all together was the worst. As they moved back, dropped out, and started skipping every day, the class got smaller and more manageable. But still a nightmare on a regular basis.
There was one girl who was so loud, you probably heard her whereever you were. I told Ryan that these kids acted appropriately. For a sporting event. And they're that guy who's loud and drunk, and getting louder and drunker. Except that there were between 10-25 of them. Seriously, I had to change the orientation of the desks in my classroom so they were facing away from the classroom next door.
They were angry that they were put into the class in the first place, since about half of them had good to excellent reading skills. I told them that didn't have anything to do with why they were put into the class. It was a grant to do a program for Katrina Kids, period. And the program was supposed to also help better readers with increased fluency. I think it did. It was hard to help the struggling readers, though since the kids were just as mean to each other as they were to me. I got to a point where they would read the selections aloud and each kid would read one paragraph. I told them that sometimes you stumble over words because of the act of physically saying something, not that it's always the case that you can't read the words. It seemed to give the struggling readers a little more confidence in their reading. One even volunteered to read in her English class, something she had never done before. I rode that high for quite some time and it still makes me happy.
So, I made it. I made it through them calling me a liar every day for months as we waited for the computers we were promised. I made it through them shouting and being off task. I made it through them bitch, bitch, bitching constantly. I had one kid in the class who had been in my test prep class the semester before. An entire year of him shouting and swearing and airing his displeasure with being in the class. Once I kicked him out and told him to go to his counselor and get out. Did the counselor say no? Who knows what the counselor would have done because he didn't go. And then told me what a f*&^ing waste of time the class was. Today even the other kids were telling him to quit bitching. Oh, and his scores also improved.
So, one NO class down, two more to go. And then I can go back to being a science teacher and not a temporary remedial reading teacher to kids who really, really, really, really don't want to be in class.
Hot diggity dog. Oh, and just so you know, their reading scores just went up and up. So all you kids who said you didn't need to be in that class... Also, they learned about all kinds of new things. I even brought them matzos so they could try it after we read about it. And I taught them that Mardi Gras is at a different time every year because Easter is on a different day each year. They argued that Mardi Gras and Easter were unrelated. We read and talked about how check cashing places rip you off and how credit cards can get you into trouble. I did get some kids to see that I really did care about them, even when I wanted to tear my hair out and/or just walk out the door and keep walking. I can't tell you how many adults told me they were surprised I didn't quit, those classes were so bad. I can't tell you how validating that was. And I was even told that I was patient. Me. Patient. Haha.
And just so you know, you CANNOT GO ON MYSPACE DURING CLASS. EVER. No matter how many times you shout, "Why I can't go on MySpace," my answer will still be NO!