The New Kid

His name showed up on my class roster the Thursday we came back from break. 13 days later he finally showed up. He moved here from San Diego. Imagine that? From San Diego to the Bronx in the dead center of winter?

On top of that, he came into my class on a day I might euphemistically call "not good". I made the poor choice of allowing the students to choose one or two classmates to sit with at new teams. I thought that they were working pretty well lately and that this would finally put an end to the pettiness and bickering that has been happening. As it turns out this was actually a horrible idea and led to the closest thing I've felt to chaos since the days of ALP.

During lunch I pulled six students out of line and marched them back upstairs to chew them out. I began as calmly as I could and explained, "I do not want to yell. I do not like to yell. I want to explain this as calmly as I can..." Within a minute or so after three of students kept making comments I couldn't control my voice from reaching a full explosion. I was in an all out shouting match with one of my students! In retrospect it's absurd and shameful. At the time I just felt completely broken down for the first time in a long, long time.

I really don't like to yell, but I have to admit I grew used to using it selectively, because I thought it was effective. What I realized today is that yelling can symbolize a complete lack of control, just as bad or worse, as the mellow, semi-pushover attitude of my early days. The yelling I resorted to today can never be effective because it still represents vulnerability. I let the kids push me to that, instead of keeping the conversation on my terms. I won't let that happen again.


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