There comes a time everyday that I walk out of Two Rivers Middle School, get in my roasting Ford Focus, and drive home. I wait impatiently for my broken air conditioner to put-put-putter out any cool air it can, and I think back over my day teaching 7th grade geography.
School started last Monday, so today is officially day 8 of 172. Already there have been two substantial fights in our school, and several smaller altercations. One student, I’ll refer to as CT, was in my homeroom class last year, was moved to a “behavior management” classroom this year, and has already been assigned to move to an alternative school. Unfortunately, some “paperwork” has not moved through the system fast enough, so CT is left to roam the 7th grade hallway at will, cussing at students, whistling during my teaching time, and banging on lockers. He walks away when teachers talk to him. He runs away when I talk to him.
And already, on day 8, I’ve heard things that make me realize why I’m doing this. For example:
- “I feel disrespected when I’m at home.” –student JS during a discussion on respect.
- “She’s lyin’ on me. That’s why my dad’s in jail, because he got lied on.” –student KS frustrated about rumors spreading around the school about his non-girlfriend.
- “I mean, because all the other students was looking at me, but I don’t know why they was.” –student CI’s written response while she was evacuated from the classroom after distracting the class from my lesson.
- “2nd period is my favorite” –student LW on his way into my classroom.
- “7th grade geography had 85% of its students reach proficiency on TCAP tests. That is higher than TRMS has seen in several years.” –principal WM discussing last year’s TCAP scores.
If I can help JS feel respected, KS learn how to ignore slander, CI learn how to earn positive attention, and keep a smile on LW and WM’s face… then I know I can keep teaching for 164 more days. No matter how badly my feet ache.