My kids are rockstars

Just sayin. It’s true. My class is full of rockstars.

This is my first week teaching. Here in Houston, I’m teaching 12th grade summer school for a month before I head back to teach my 10th  graders in McAllen. It’s been an interesting week, to say the least.

These kids fascinate me. There are times where they seem so shallow– only concerned about their nails (each one a different color), or their belt buckles, or who is giving who a hickey in the hall. And then they step inside… and things change. They’re bright, they’re curious, they want to learn.

That being said, it’s becoming more and more clear to me how much student behavior hinges on the teacher. On my first day teaching, my students started the day interested and engaged. Then, the fire alarm went off (this happens very often at my school. As in, four times this week so far). I think I handled that very well, all things considered– I made sure to take my kids out in an orderly fashion, to take roll outside and inside, and to get them all back into the classroom. This is harder than it seems- many kids will take off during our frequent fire drills hoping no one will mark them absent. However, it completely threw me off. There’s no other way to say it than that I panicked. Suddenly 20 minutes was gone and I was completely off schedule, tasked with teaching the students about word choice before the bell rang.

Suddenly, my teaching changed. I was talking constantly and quickly. I was giving students no time to answer before feeding them the answer.  I became completely totalitarian about my hand raising– I only have 7 kids, but somehow making them raise their hand before doing ANYTHING felt incredibly important. My bright kids were gone– replaced by surly, quiet little people who only wanted me to go away.

So the next day, I tried something different. we put our desks in a circle, and we had a conversation about the story. Just a conversation. But during our conversation, we covered context clues, word choice, connotation. they made connections, they made predictions.  it was, in a word, incredible. And even my “problem kid” (who is in fact just far too smart to be in summer school, but suffers from behavior problems) was interested, although he had a few inappropriate moments. It was the class of my dreams.

I’m trying to keep that high in my mind when I go into my class in about an hour. I’m teaching main idea today, but my texts are not as interesting as yesterdays, so I hope I can keep them involved.

Favorite quotes from yesterday:

“Miss, I like these stories.” So simple, but it made me smile 🙂

One of the stories was about a girl who wouldn’t eat. I need to preface this by saying that I DID NOT laugh when he said this, but I barely held it in when one of my students said “he should give her some pot. Then it would give her the munchies.”

How do you not laugh at that? The same kid compared King Louis and the peasants of the french revolution to a pimp and his… ladies. So inappropriate, but accurate, don’t you think?

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