Tuesday, April 7, 2009

new rules and a glimpse of daily events

I’ve now been doing this particular job for about 6 months or so, and in that time i've come up with some new rules that i think i'll instate for next year:

1 - do not complain to me about things over which i have no control. yes, i know it's about 97 degrees in here every day, but i checked with some people and it turns out no one else cares. tough cookies. i have lost just as much weight through sweating as the rest of you.

2 - do not ask me what time you get out of class. the schedule has no changed all year long, and it's a waste of my breath to tell you every day.

3 - when i am attempting to carry on a conversation with 4 students while trying to help 2 with their work, do not interrupt. i can only handle about 6 brain processes at one time.

4 - look for your folder at least 8 times before telling me it's not in the crate. trust me; it's in there (unless you didn't put it in there when you left class.)

5 - no whining. you're in high school. it doesn't work anymore (at least, not at school).

6 – lying doesn’t ever really help you out. oh really, you didn’t call me a b*** just because i told you to stop talking while the guest speaker was talking? that’s weird, because I am absolutely sure that’s what I heard come out of your mouth. And really? you weren’t listening to music on the internet? (which I’ve warned you about 6 times already…by the way, it’s a district policy. Revert back to rule #1). I can actually pull up your computer screen and watch every move you make, and I saw you. I SAW YOU. I’ve known at least one professional liar, and you are not very good at it.

7 - if I see your IPOD out, it’s mine. I won’t even turn it in to the administrators; I’ll just sell it on eBay. (I could make a killing on this policy (but there’s probably some sort of law about not selling kids’ stuff.)

That’s all the rules I have so far. As you might guess, this job has been tough…very challenging students/attitudes. But here’s the deal: I do not share this information because I want to you pity me or anything like that. I knew (for the most part) what I was getting into when I took the job. At-risk youth, that’s how it goes. Most of them don’t have parents to teach them right and wrong, let alone love them and make them feel like their lives are worth living and improving. (Example: One girl basically has a restraining order against her mom. The school isn’t supposed to tell her anything about what her daughter is doing. She lived in her car for a while, and she also held down two jobs while taking care of her nephews. I cannot imagine. Another student’s mom keeps deciding she’s going to pack up and move away to some other state (it varies with the day) so she can be with some guy she’s just met. And this kids has worked SO hard to get his academics in line…it breaks my heart.)

Anyway, this job has made me more understanding and calm in sticky situations, yet thick-skinned at the same time. (My thin skin has always been a weakness, and while Coacher might not see me in action at school I think he might be proud of the improvements being made). At times I wonder at how I can so calmly tell a student that I know for a fact that he has just lied to my face or that (for the 100th time) I know it stinks to have to actually do WORK at school. That is so unfair that I’m making him try to graduate! I know the only way I can do it and not take offense is because I have prayed for calm, strength, and thick skin get through the sticky situations

A quick story to give you a glimpse of daily happenings:

Someone just knocked on my door. A student. I wrote him a referral yesterday for continuously talking while we had a guest speaker, sticking his fingers in the back of a computer and messing with the wires, not sitting in the hallway as I’d asked him to do (because if you act like a kindergartener, sometimes you are treated like one), then loudly telling his friends in the hallway that I am a b*** and that I told him to do such and such and he said, “f*** no!” as I walked by. (Of course, he really said the words, and a few others, I’m sure.) He just now told me that he didn’t call me that, nor did he say anything else bad that I wrote him up for. He said I just heard his friends talking about other stuff. He explained that because he got a referral he will be sent back to live in a group home. I let him speak his piece, and then I said that I am sure it was him saying all of that. He said that when they (administrators?) checked the cameras and saw that he didn’t say it I would feel really bad for getting him put back in the group home. I said (genuinely) I would feel terrible if he got put back in a group home because of my mistake, so if he wanted to go have people check the cameras he could. Of course he didn’t want to do that (then we would all see proof that he really did say it). He got all agitated about it and said he was getting out of my class.

I almost cried.

For joy.

But some kids really are a joy, and those are the ones I have to focus on.