1.16.2007

This is what it feels like to fall...

4 of my 7 student are suspended. 1 was hospitalized. Bad Wolves are falling apart.

Wednesday of last week both Jerry and Ricky were suspended for bullying issues. It was a long time coming, and I guess the stack of incident reports just got so high that they decided it was finally time to do something about it. I don't want to get too far off track by complaining about my administration and their lax policies, but as I’m sure most of you can imagine, the office doesn’t want to deal with negative behaviors any more than the teachers want to deal with a bunch of BS paperwork.

It just so happens that Wednesday was also the day my cell phone was stolen off my desk in my classroom. The student whom we suspect took the phone also cleared his parents phone numbers from my aide's cell phone-- leading me to believe that he took mine to delete the phone numbers, with intentions to return it-- but never got the chance to give it back because on the way back from the restroom he was scooted down to the office and then suspended-- but again, for the sake of not going on too much about things I could ramble about all day, I won't go into detail about the overwhelming disappointment I felt when I learned that one of MY students stole my phone.

Thursday Ricky showed up to school even though he was suspended. They held him in the office for the first half-hour of the day, and then sent him up to class with a pass. As soon as he got in the room he body slammed Tay for "telling" on him and saying that he felt bullied. As you can imagine, this was not an easy day for us, and Ricky took free reign in the classroom, claiming every time he did something he new was a bad decision “I can do whatever I want. I don’t even have to be here. I’m suspended, remember?”

Friday Ricky showed up again. They didn't even try to hold him in the office-- they just sent him up… apparently they had things to deal with in the office- as if I come to school to baby-sit, and not teach. Then all hell broke loose in the classroom. All of my students were frustrated, and I think that they saw Ricky's defiance as reassurance that they could get away with anything they wanted.

Friday was hell. I couldn't get a word in... when I went to speak they screamed over me. When I went to write on the chalkboard they would run out of the classroom, claiming that they didn’t have to work. When I tried to do anything at all they did everything in their power to prevent it, and they wouldn’t even let me show them what I was trying to do. It wasn’t even that they didn’t want to learn. Sometimes they don’t want to hear what I have to say, but if information gets in, they are okay with that, and they walk away with something. On Friday, they wouldn’t even allow that to happen. They wouldn’t allow information to even seep in, because they wouldn’t let it get out of me at all. At one point I stopped talking all together. I almost lost my mind on Friday.

Then the principal suspended Jay and Ray. She didn't want to deal with it anymore either.

After school on Friday I had my big breakdown. It was my big moment of "I can't do this", "I'm a failure" and "I don't know how." That's when the night custodian walked in on me. I was beat-red and crying like an infant. He didn't say much, but I asked him to help me re-arrange my room. I figured if something was going to change, everything was going to have to change.

Today when I got to school Jay was there, even though he was supposed to be suspended. I think that he was just testing to see if he could get away with what Ricky got away with. It would've worked too, because when I told the office that he was there, they started to send him upstairs. Then he made the mistake of laughing and calling the principal a b*tch under his breath. They kept him in the office the rest of the day.

That incident left me with 3 students. Then Tally had his big moment. He went completely out of control and started threatening to take his own life. He went so far as to try to throw himself off the railing on the 4th floor stairwell. (This is another point in my rant in which I could go on for days, because this is not the first such incident this year with Tally, but again, this entry has too much already, and I’ll try to address the suicidal tendencies of some of my students in another rant another time.) We had to send Tally to the hospital. That is the first time this year that I've had to send a kid out for crisis treatment at the hospital. Last year I had police and ambulances quite a bit, but this was a first for the Bad Wolves. That incident left me with 2 students. The 3 of us had a good day and got all of our work done, but somehow I still have a hard time seeing today as any sort of success.

The room change is good I think. It's a start. They seemed a little taken aback when they saw it, they didn't know what to do-- it's like they froze in the doorway. Then they settled in. I think they know that it is time for some change in the classroom. I am going to introduce a new behavior mod. chart when they all start returning from their suspensions. I am doing everything I can think of to get things back in order. I am going to be cold for a little while towards them. I am not the type of teacher that believes that you can be unemotional to kids that NEED you emotionally... but I think that for a while I am going to have to try to be a warden and hold back all the emotions I want them to share and to see.

Ahhhh!
This week is going to be good. It has to be. They will start coming back slowly and the students that I have now will be accustomed to the new way the class runs, and then those that come into the class will either go along with the behaviors or I will have to send them out. I hate taking this attitude towards teaching, but things NEED to change. When we returned from winter break things didn't fall back into place the way they were before break, and now is my chance to pick up where we were and get Bad Wolves spirit in the classroom again. I have hope-- it's just that I have to keep convincing myself that it's there.

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