Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Miss Ishola's Day Off

Today my kids were taking their Writing TAKS test, and since I'm only the lowly student teacher I got to have the day off. I guess I could have gone and observed in the 5th grade class, or maybe helped out in the library. But since I've been sick over the last week, and just stressed and exhausted in general, my mentor teacher thought it'd be good for me to have a personal day.

And did I need a personal day.

For one, two weeks ago my mentor teacher went to a professional development workshop and was gone for the day. So, our 4th grade class had a substitute... who did nothing. I mean, I basically had a good handle of the class. I was teaching the spelling and grammar, and then guided them in their centers and stuff. And so I guess she didn't really need to do anything. But this sub was on her phone a lot, and kept running off to the bathroom, and then would walk up to me WHILE I WAS TEACHING and start holding conversations with me and stuff. It was like, "okay, so not only are you not really doing what you're getting paid for (and I'm doing it all and NOT getting paid), but you're hindering/disrupting the process." It was kind of a stressful day because I was suddenly the full-fledge teacher for the day and I wasn't sure if I was ready for it. Granted I've subbed in the past, and I tutor and stuff, but for some reason this felt different. And it also began to point out to me that some of the kids don't truly see me as an authority figure in the class...

... which brings me to the second reason I needed a personal day: Three times last week, the kids nearly made me cry. In front of them. There's a few who were just really disrespectful and have always been. Like they'd not look at me when I was speaking, would ignore my directions and instructions. I mean, the day when the sub was there, I stopped and went, "Excuse me, I'm talking." And I had a girl respond, "So am I." That's the kind of disrespect I was dealing with. And well, this week it just seemed like it was at its all-time worst. These kids were very vocal about the fact that they didn't think very much of me as their teacher. So as I taught, I'd get kids sighing loudly, saying "BORING!" or just having full-blown conversations as I tried to teach.

My frustration level just kept building because I felt like I was constantly talking over them, my lesson was taking longer than it should have, and ultimately no knowledge was being imparted. And for those who know me, when I get frustrated I tend to cry. Something I had to work really hard at not doing. I just felt like they hated me and I couldn't figure out why. My mentor teacher, as well as her mentor, assured me that I shouldn't take it personally. But it was hard not to.

It didn't help that I was sick all of last week--and so my eyes were watery and burning, my nose was stuffed, and I sounded like a teenage boy going through puberty. Or that all the news about education budget cuts in Texas were finally thrust into my face and I had to acknowledge that this "Plan B" may fail, too. Especially since going for my MFA, my "Plan A" (or really Plan A.2, since Plan A was having and keeping my job at the magazine), wasn't looking so bright either after I got five "We regret to inform you..." letters.

Overall, it's been a hard two weeks. And I was emotionally drained. I wouldn't say I'm back to 100 percent, but this personal day helped. So while I think the TAKS test is pretty dumb, I'm thankful for it giving me the day off!

Miss Ishola needed her day off.

2 comments:

  1. I feel your pain there, 110%. But try to stick it in, essentially "forgive them, for they know not what they do". Students are...young, immature and inexperienced. They're still making sense of the world, pushing boundaries and trying to test their limits. As a teacher, you just happen to get the brunt end of it.

    Or you could just try brute force :-P

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  2. I'm glad you got your day off! I promise that when I start subbing, I will be much more professional than the lady you had to deal with. Hoping that you're feeling rested!

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