The Inner Debate

I wonder if I should be handling my students differently. I wonder if I'm coming across as a push-over. Is there something instrinsic in my nature that will keep me from ever controlling students like Lil Miss Meltdown and Maverick? I tell myself that they caused problems for all their previous teachers. They are notorious. Then I tell myself I'm making excuses.

Three or four months ago I thought I had this so figured out. I had found something I was good at. Now I'm wondering if I'll ever be good at this job, or if I'm just not cut out for it. I waver between giving myself a break with justifications like "you cannot control what goes on at home" and reprimanding myself finding excuses in the home life of my students. I'm not the first person to teach in the Bronx and I'm not the first person to struggle. Plenty others have succeeded where I am failing.

The essential question remains: Am I cut out for this job? I do not plan on quitting any time soon, but I wonder if there's something in my nature - a leniency, a lack of withitness or whatever - that will always make teaching my students a struggle. What I learned from last year was that without clear rules, routines and procedures for every facet of the classroom there will be problems. Then why I am I still having problems 5 months into the year, long after these elements have been established, taught, and re-taught?


Shizelmystaniak said…
Its not a matter of having it all figured out. Children even in the best of circumstances are not perfect little angels. They are always searching, looking and pushing. The only thing as teachers that we can do is make a commitment that we will show up everyday and do our best.
This comes with time. Kids sense the level of experience you have.

I've found that making a personal connection with them helps. That and being crazy. As in, risky, but trying crazy things out. I rarely have issues with my freshman class, yet I am not a strict disciplinarian. Everything kind of flows in its own way. I can ask for their ipod and they will give it to me, because they know they will get it back. They can trust me.

Just keep working at it. You'll get it. It just comes. I am only a 2nd year, and I am 1000 times better at this than I was last year. I can only imagine that as I progress, this will be so much easier.

As it is, there are plenty of teachers with way more experience that suck at this. I think maybe they just stopped caring. Sad.
jonathan said…
I am reading blogs backwards, catching up, and I almost just left you the exact same comment I left you earlier today.

The sweep of the year, that's worth evaluating. But in the moment, you can look at details that work, that don't work, that need adjusting, but not an overall evaluation.

Management is tough. Some people take longer. I took 2 years. 2 years plus. And, it's true, some never get there. But now's not the time... Even if you are horrible, which seems unlikely, you are the best your class will have for the rest of the year. A sub'd be a major step down.

So this "inner debate" goes on, but it will need attention as the year winds down. Trust the S observations, if that's what's coming. And feedback from colleagues. If the whole world is seeing progress, go with it.

Different issue, can you take it easy on the Bronx?


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