So yesterday I had an incident at school.
Long story short: my kids were behaving like absolute zoo animals. It was just like what you see in the movies — kids throwing pencils at each other, yelling, screaming, boys chasing each other around the room, kids throwing each others’ stuff in the trash as a joke, kids wrestling on top of desks. The whole shebang. Oh and my students are in 10th grade, so you can imagine how age-inappropriate this behavior is.
You may ask, “why didn’t you just kick the misbehaved students out of your room?” Well, students cannot be sent out into the hallway unsupervised due to liability issues (I would actually be reprimanded for that). I could send them over to another classroom to cool down, but I’ve done that before and oftentimes it doesn’t seem to mitigate their behavior. If anything, I feels like I am giving them an excuse to just “get out of my hair” instead of having to own up to their actions to my face.
After about 60-70 minutes of putting up with waves of this ridiculous behavior, it got particularly intense. Normally, I’m very good at handling these situations with a laid-back attitude, but I had had enough. I totally lost control and stormed out of the room. Shaking with rage and frustration, I cried outside of my classroom door for a minute or two. (Reflecting on this moment, I guess I got so upset because I felt like I had just returned to square one. Up to this point, this “wild bunch” of 10-15 students that walked into my classroom at the beginning of the school year had been slowly molded into a pretty productive and engaged group of students. I feel very maternal to all of them, so when they were behaving like this, it felt like a total slap in the face. Like my emotional investment in my students was totally in vain.) After calming myself down, I walked back into the room and told them that they would spend the remaining 30 minutes of class in total silence. I gave them a 15-second lecture on how they were behaving like 3-year-olds.
To my total and utter disbelief, they ACTUALLY did it. Not a single peep for 30 straight minutes (quite possibly the most awkward 30 minutes of my life). I thought, maybe they do have some respect for me after all.
Later in the day, I was standing in the hallway ushering in my last class of students. One student who had been at the center of all the mayhem in my “crazy class” was entering his last class of the day just a few doors down from my classroom. He began to walk towards me saying, “Miss, I think you need a hug.” I was still a bit emotionally shaken at this point and knew I was going to cry if he did, so I responded with, “No, I really don’t.” Cold, I know.
Totally undeterred, my student continued to walk towards me and hug me, but I was too confused to hug back. It ended up being just him hugging me with my arms pinned to my sides. Then he said, “Miss, you’re my favorite teacher, I’m really sorry.” I don’t even remember if I responded cause I was too busy trying not to tear up (which I did, anyway).
I never thought I’d say it, but I’m glad that I’ve poured so much of my heart and soul into this work. It certainly does have its shining moments.