I was a psych major-I think it's because human behavior just fascinates me. I'm always wondering why people act the way they do. Every year the dynamic of my class is different. Sometimes the kids are super-compassionate, empathetic, helping each other. Sometimes they have to learn how to cooperate with each other and I have so many strong personalities that most of the time I'm just resolving conflicts.
This year I have a dynamic I have not had to deal with before. Out of my 20 students-15 are boys. We always talk about how in teaching we have to be flexible, I have had to change a lot of my thinking this year. My classroom has never taken such a beating. This is what most of my bulletin boards look like-no matter how many times I fix them:
They can't just line up at the door-they lean. Luckily I'm not one of those with pristinely decorated classrooms. :) I've put the border back up at least 20 times, now I can't even find what they did with the rest of the border. One of my wooden blocks that I've had for years was broken in half. How do you break a wooden block?
Our room is always a mess! I go through and pick up all the backpacks and jackets that somehow all missed their hooks and 10 minutes later, they have jumped off all those hooks again. They don't seem to mind crayons and pencils on the floor and don't get me started on how they clean up after breakfast!
We also seem to have that lack of compassion I spoke of. It's something we work on regularly. They constantly argue with each other and even though we use community supplies and have about a million pencils, they have to fight over one that I guess has magical powers or something. They do not stop talking either-whether it's in the hallway or the middle of a lesson-getting everyone to listen at the same time is a struggle every single day! The first Friday into the school year this year I had my first chemo treatment. On Monday when I came in I made it through the whole day until about a half hour from dismissal. I started to feel like I was going to pass out, so I laid down in the class library, put on a BrainPop video and called the front office to see if someone could relieve me. One of the students came over and yells "Hey, Miss Trayers is asleep!". I explained, that no I wasn't asleep. But my thought was, if you thought I was asleep, why are you yelling? That's been my year this year.
The one other adjustment I have had to make has been in channeling all that energy. And they are full of energy! I actually divide my recess time in half-we go out in the middle of my reading block for about 10 minutes and run around. Then we go out again 2-ish when they start to be losing steam again and I've been teaching them how to play games like What Time is it Mr. Fox and Red Rover. In between I play Dr. Jean videos, JustDance Kids videos-just to get those wiggles out.
Don't get me wrong-there are also positives. We have some real charmers. I have a few students that everyone on campus knows by name-future politicians, I think. I also have some truly gifted students. One knows the whole periodic table already, one is reading on a 5th grade level.