Maybe I can do this NO I CAN’T SHUT UP

If I were a dog, I would deserve a firm smack on the nose, perhaps with some sort of rolled-up magazine or newspaper, for writing this post.  Then again, if a dog actually wrote a blog post, perhaps that would be cause for celebration and not censure.  Maybe this metaphor doesn’t quite work.  I don’t know.

I spent about an hour this afternoon sitting in my new classroom, just sort of staring at everything.  Have some pictures.  Ignore the clutter and the untidiness; there were parties yesterday and the janitors haven’t gotten everywhere yet (and the teacher did a terrible job of getting the kids to straighten the room.)

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As you can see, the room is cavernous.  It’s set up as a science classroom; there’s storage underneath the countertop all the way around.  That thing in the back is a vent hood.  I can burn shit in there if I want to.

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There’s room for, like, a million kids in here, and tons of table space too.  There’s 30 student desks, plus three round tables, four computer stations that are probably going away, two rectangular tables, a couple of bar stools for the counter space, and a couple of desk areas built in under the windows.  The versatility for seating arrangements is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  Both of my previous classrooms could fit inside this one at the same time.

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Lots of board space, too.  The whiteboard is electronic, and there’s some chalkboard to either side of it, plus a fair amount of bulletin board space, especially if I get rid of the computer stations, which I’m planning to do.

God help me, I sat in this classroom today and for a couple of minutes I was actually looking forward to this fall. I cannot do this. I cannot allow myself this luxury when I don’t think I’m going to be getting paid for the entire school year.

This year was rough.  I have no reason to think next year was better, as the two cardinal rules of teaching in Indiana are that nothing ever gets better and everything always gets worse.  And “worse” next year is going to be unprecedentedly worse if I can’t get out this summer.

But damn.  This classroom.

Second verse, same as the first

AvI_0yPCAAII5dDThis has been kind of a frustrating week, and I can’t quite put my finger on why– for all I know, it’s the meat shakes again.  Or maybe it’s fractions, which are apparently the most difficult mathematics in the history of time and are certainly rapidly becoming the most frustrating to me.  I got a heavy dose of “we’ve never seen this shit before” from third and fourth hour today, including one kid who, when adding mixed numbers, had to be harangued for five solid minutes before admitting that he knew what two plus seven was.

This is a seventh grader, and this is emphatically not a fucking joke or hyperbole.  Two plus seven.  He spent five minutes insisting that he didn’t know and that math was hard and why am I bothering him and god I don’t know and I don’t get it and once I finally got an answer out of him immediately switched to insisting that he’d been telling me the answer was nine for “the whole time” and that I was just hassling him.  This kid’s ideal day at school is one where no teacher ever talks to him and he does nothing whatsoever; he will do literally nothing if someone is not hovering over him making absolutely certain that he is doing work for literally every second of his day.  It hasn’t sunk in yet that that shit’s not gonna fly in my classroom, and I’m sure as hell not ever going to let someone get away with “I don’t know” when the question is fucking seven plus two.

But if he doesn’t pass ISTEP, it’s my fault, for not bringing enough fucking balloons and firecrackers into class and keeping him entertained.


I let them get into my head too much, I think.  I have a kid who is currently signed up for the Washington, D.C. trip later this year who is, while not the worst behaved kid I’ve ever had, easily in the top ten– and that’s in twelve years of teaching, so we’re dealing with a sample size in the low four figures by now.  I should have kicked him off the list immediately; there was never any chance that this kid was going to be able to pull his behavior together well enough to convince me to take him eight hundred miles from home for four days.  Never.  But I didn’t cut him off last year because kicking him off a trip he’ll take as a seventh grader when he was in sixth grade didn’t seem fair.  So far this year he literally hasn’t made it through a single week of school without at least a day or two, sometimes more, of either in-school suspension or out of school suspension.  This week he was here Monday, absent Tuesday, in class yesterday and today, and then by the end of the day today he’d managed to land in the office three times from three different teachers, including getting called out of my class for something that didn’t have anything to do with me– so that’s four times in the office, actually– and he’s in ISS for the next three days for the cumulative effects of all of that.

If there’s ever been a time to pull the trigger, it’s now; my principal okayed me to kick him off last year.  And I still keep not wanting to do it because maybe he’ll get it together.  I keep throwing questions at this other kid– in private, mind you; it’s not like I’m calling him out in front of the whole class– hoping that sooner or later the math will click.  And it’s not gonna.  For either of them.  And I keep banging my head against the wall, because banging my head against the wall until the wall breaks down is my goddamn job.

I need a goddamn cheeseburger.