Well, today was interesting. My spelling test plans went well. All of the kids did them and some of them got surprising scores. They all liked the word search. Even the worst behaving sat and did it. The class I am the most worried about is tomorrow. That is the one with Nick. We’ll see how that goes.
The classes where there were problems were the classes I was not responsible for, but the regular lesson plan/class sucked: math and English 9. The math section was taught by another teacher and there was an aide in the room. The other teacher whispered and could not engage the kids in a discussion and the aide only upset the kids more. I walked around and got kids working, but the second I walked away, the kids stopped. At one point, the aide got confrontational with a student and the student became quite upset and used the opportunity to get angry and disruptive which is what he probably wanted in the first place. Personally, I did not think it was that big of a deal and that the aide let it get out of control.
The other was in English 9. The teacher in there has a poor handle on discipline and classroom dynamics. They ignore him for the most part and are very disruptive. Today, we had to split the class up and he took the majority to the typing lab and left me with the kids who had either finished the assignment already and were supposed to work ahead and with the kids who had not gotten far enough to go to the lab. There was also one boy, Chance, who should have gone to lab to type, but decided he didn’t want to and stayed behind with me. For the most part I was able to keep the kids working except for two girls who kept talking about sex and two boys who thought that since they were ahead, they didn’t have to do anything. After doing some creative rearranging of the seating chart, I was able to focus on the kids who authentically needed help and to focus the others who needed to do classwork. That is until Chance decided he wasn’t getting enough attention and started going through the teacher’s desk, girls’ purses and other kids’ backpacks. This was a little nerve-wracking, but when he started getting confrontational when I repeatedly called him on it and when I several hands up from kids who had academic needs, I sent him off to detention/in-school suspension.
I followed up and wrote a report for the school about his behavior and outlined the work he had to do in in-school detention for the next three days. The biggest problem is that I did not want to do this ever. Ever. I am quite embarrassed by my lack of creative discipline. I should have done better.
Anyway. Tomorrow, I have reading again and another batch of spelling tests. Over the weekend, I’ll read more about differentiation and managing a educationally diverse classroom. The biggest problem in the English class and the math class is that there really is no expectation of discipline and work. I got the feeling from the other adults in the class that this is just the way it is and to not expect anything.