So… we started school two Fridays ago (leave it to Louisiana to start school on a Friday). And it feels like every day is getting longer than the last. There’s always more to do and never enough time to do it, so something’s always gotta give. Lesson plans, unit planning, curriculum specialist meetings in Baton Rouge that eat up my Mondays, IEP meetings, content area meetings, LINCS meetings, TFA meetings, too much red tape for words, and grading, grading, grading – You can stay up all night and still not get everything done. That’s probably the worst part for me. I don’t want to say I was duped, but I was definitely unprepared for the rigidness of how the work would have to be done.
I think yesterday was my low point. My morning classes usually go well (because 2/3 are honors), but then my afternoon classes go to hell in a handbasket, especially 4th and 5th hour. But yesterday, which was kind of a hodge-podge day, one of my kids in 2nd hour said that I needed to make class more fun. “This is English,” he said. “It’s supposed to be fun. I’ve never had problems staying awake before in class.” And that was the first comment from a student thus far that almost made me cry. I don’t care if they think I’m mean or they don’t like me – as my school director said this summer, I’ve got a cell phone full of phone numbers. I don’t need any 16-year-old friends to add to the list.
But I hated that comment from Chris. I’ve just been too exhausted getting everything done (and actually, still not getting everything done) to be able to go the extra mile and find really good creative assignments. And I hate that – that I took something that’s awesome and exciting and makes me so happy and made it boring. But they’re just not at a level yet where I can think of any fun assignments to give them. I always thought English was fun because you get to read and explore ideas and discuss and debate and write. These kids don’t like any of those things – they hate reading and writing, and they have no idea how to make sense of things they read.
And I’m also not a motivator. I’ve always been self-motivated, so I have no idea what to do with kids who have absolutely no desire to do anything. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually miss Houston Institute and my baby 6th-graders there. Institute was waaaaaaaaaaay easier than this.