Things Fall Apart

I've been worrying a lot about how once the students have become comfortable with me the "honeymoon period" would be over and the real misbehavior would begin. From conversations with veteran teachers and my own expectations I figured this would happens sometime late next week. Like most of my expectations, I was wrong. Today it was clear: The honeymoon was over.

So far I've been seating my students in rows as per some professional development I received over the summer. But I wanted to give them a chance to try group learning today, so I assigned them to groups for a math activity. Even "chaos" seems like an understatement. It took them an eternity to find their groups even though I had numbered them off 1, 2, 3, 4 and asked them to group by their number. This proved to be too complex. Desks were in disarray, students couldn't remember their number, students refused to join their assigned group... Eventually I just scrapped the whole experiment and had the students work silently and individually in their Math Journals.

In part this was a small mistake on my part. I didn't give clear enough directions on making groups. But the misbehavior also indicated a larger lack of control over my classroom. And to be honest, it was scary. At least three of my students are downright rebellious and blatantly disregard simple directions from me. Sit down. Move your seat. Stop talking.

I'm like a broken record player and with some of these students I'm fighting a losing battle. In fact, with at least one of them I have to admit I've all but surrendered. It's not like they scare me. But seriously, what do you do when you tell a kid what to do and they just say no? For the time being I can't send them to the assistant principal or principal because there's a whole chain of events I'm supposed to follow. So, basically I'm trying to discipline these kids with one hand tied behind my back.

All is not lost. I have a ton of support around me. I'm surrounded by tons of teachers and administrators with experience. With a bit of creativity and a lot perseverance I might just make it through this.


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