I’m already in a funk on Friday because, frankly, I didn’t get enough sleep. I can’t talk about why I was in this public space, but it made me seriously question my own mental health during this change of weather. The frigidness must be getting to me. Yet, maybe it’s cyclical: after all, the children as of late have come back more talkative and disruptive than ever. When the students fail to meet me halfway, I have a hard time reasoning why I even want to reach further other than my actual care for the job.
Because teaching a “problem” child is a completely different animal than just seeing them in the hallway in the hopes of counseling him. Those are two different positions, often in conflict with one another especially with matters of discipline. While I appreciate the love and adoration I have from the students on the floor, I also need to make sure that students aren’t pushing the agenda by getting in more trouble and matriculating into my class as the “last resort.” I already have enough children who’ve been red-flagged, and unfortunately, I don’t have either the time or the space to pull them aside, shake them a bit, and show them the tenets of being a good student.
So during homeroom, I had to give permission slips to my Penny Harvest Committee kids who’ve at least put in some work during the last 2 months. They deserve the trip for missing lunches and putting in work during school. One of the students, A, says, “And what about me?”
“What about you?” I retort. Because after all, he wasn’t part of the original committee. I would have compensated him the same way I compensated the young gentlemen who brought down those 27 or so Penny Harvest bags from the 5th floor to the ground floor: treats like oatmeal raisin granola bars or Reduced Fat Oreos. Snacks for an honest 10 minutes’ work. Finito. But instead, he got nasty behind my back, and reaching from my underbelly through a portal of Hades, I say,
“Sir, if you have something to say, I’d suggest you say it to my face.”
Sometimes I forget how hood I get. My bad. But frankly, I was already incensed with rage towards a kid who, after all the whining and self-righteousness he spoke with behind my back, I needed to bring him back to planet Earth. I kept mumbling under my breath to
make the kids believe let the kids know I was crazy, and then after calming down, I said, “Line up outside.”
And I tell you what: it was hard as hell coming in today and bouncing back from that moment. I thought of ways to make amends in my classroom for those brutal situations. I also thought how I’ve had the most patience and tolerance for their indiscretions, so maybe it has to come from both sides of the situations. But only I have the ability to help undo the students’ bad habits because they’re at a very selfish stage in their lives, their consciousness of others’ sentiments not at its full potential. I’m also culpable for that environment. I can’t simply demand that they behave a certain way, but do my best to reverse behaviors that have until now made them unsuccessful.
I still came in today, and I still taught. I just know this is another test I’ve yet to pass for the year. Let’s see what I come up with in a few days’ time …
I’ve got stars directing my fate
And I’m praying it’s not too late …
jose, who’s finally a published author …