All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Thursday, 9 March 2006

The Thrill/Stress Of It All

The stress of the job is getting to me. Yesterday, I didn’t go in. I was all bunged up and my voice was shot.

The day off did me the world of good.

I went in today and seriously lost it with one of my Year 9 classes, who just couldn’t keep quiet. I’ve been struggling for the last month or so to teach them control systems (i.e. Flow Charts to you and me) and today, after yet another attempt to explain it to them, I’d just had enough. I asked them if they understood the concepts, they told me they wanted me to explain them yet again and when I did, they ignored me and spent the lesson chatting.

I have a policy of not talking above the children’s noise level. When I don’t adhere to this, I find that they louder I try to get myself heard, the louder their chatting gets and then I feel my voice straining. Today, I got to the point where I was screaming at them to shut up and got so angry when they responded by laughing at me, that I walked out of the class to get another teacher in for support. I know that in the kids’ minds, they saw this as a weakness but to be honest, I was so angry that I was beyond caring.

Anyway, a learning mentor came in and gave them an absolute bollocking. Between the two of us, we had them standing there for close on twenty minutes, dead silent whilst we (well, mostly she) blasted them without pause and made it very clear that, if they couldn’t be bothered to stay quiet and do some learning in their lessons, they might as well go elsewhere as we were not going to break our heads teaching them.

Then the strangest thing happened. The learning mentor told the students to apologise to me for their behaviour and of course I received a chorused “sorry”. The bell went and I made a conscious note of which students had the decency to repeat an individual “sorry” as they passed me whilst leaving the room. Interestingly, the brightest kids walked straight past me, ignoring me and of course refusing to apologise, whilst the less academic ones were quite gracious in their sorry’s. I don’t know if one can take anything out of this and I probably shouldn’t analyse, but I did find this behaviour quite interesting. Tense Teacher, what’s your take on all of this?

Fortunately, I had both lunch and a free lesson to calm down but I can tell you, those kids this morning really pushed me. It will be interesting to see if this has had any impact on their behaviour, because, if it hasn’t, the one hour after-school detentions will be flowing like confetti.

I’ve just had enough.


Tense Teacher said...

I've learned that often, the less academic kids have the most to lose when they feel as though they've lost your respect, or that you don't like them anymore. The smart ones know that high school is simply a stepping stone and feel that they don't really need our knowledge. As far as how to combat that attitude, I'm not's different for every group.

The Teacher said...

Thank you for your wisdom.