Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Grump, grump, grump

Warning: This post isn't a cheerful or peppy one. If you're not in the mood for complaining, move on now.

This school year hasn't been my best. My class is extremely talkative. My students tattle on each other more so than other classes have before. Every recess concludes with several students tattling about some other kid who did something. I don't know what I'm supposed to do about all these petty complaints of theirs. We have talked about the difference between letting me know when someone else has done something seriously wrong and tattling, but they just don't get it. Are parents these days tolerating that kind of tattling about siblings at home? Why do these kids do this? What do they really think I can do about some of this stuff? Do they just want my empathy, or do they expect me to be punitive to the other kid? Do parents expect teachers to deal with every little complaint? Ack!

I have one very rude little boy who backtalks me several times a day. I have tried everything I know of to squelch this obnoxious behavior - to no avail. He is so arrogant and rude. I am so frustrated with his attitude and behavior choices.

I have another little boy who baby-talks and whines, and when he's angry or frustrated with his peers he steps on their feet or kicks them. When I talk to him about his behavior, he just becomes very shrill and blames everyone else. The sound of his voice make me crazy. He cannot be reasoned with.

I have a very tomboyish girl who roughs up the boys and nearly makes them cry. She does it with a smile on her face, though. At least she's cheerful, right?

I have another little girl who is late to class nearly everyday and does nothing at school. Still, she will be going on to the next grade level. Sigh...

I have been yelled at by two mothers this year - not at the same time, though. Thank goodness for that. I have had another mother in my room for 15-20 minutes everyday after school for months seeking my attention until my principal finally told her she wasn't allowed in my room without an appointment.

And then today, I was told that tomorrow I will receive another new student for a total of 33. That's the largest class I've ever had in 12 years of teaching. There was a time when 32 was the maximum number of students a 4th or 5th grade class could have, but in these days of declining enrollment, we don't turn any new student away. No, we just cram them into classrooms too small to comfortably accommodate a large number of students, and collect the ADA money for them. Thank you very much! I didn't even have a desk for this new student. The custodian brought one in late today. And what's the point of him starting at our school now with just 17 days remaining? What am I supposed to do with this kid while all my students are finishing up their final lessons and taking final tests over the next couple of weeks? I'll be babysitting him, that's what. It's just ridiculous.

I could go on, and on about everything that's irking me about my profession these days. But I won't. I've grumped enough for one day.

I hate to be so negative, but all this just saps the joy right out of teaching.

I sure hope next year is better.


fuzzandfuzzlet said...

My take on post recess tattling.

I am a recess monitor at my kids school. I am there to deal with recess conflict. When I hear a kid running to their teacher with a recess tale I remind them that I am on the playground to solve recess problems, they are not to take it back to the classroom.

I would be curious to know where the majority of your kids birthdays fall. It sounds to me like you have some young 4th graders. I think parents have hit a stage where they are so eager for free daycare "aka their view of kindergarten" they start kids in school by age and not readiness.

Kristen said...

Here's hoping we both have a much better 08-09!!!

Come on Summer Vacation.......

Joannah said...


I wish we had recess monitors like you. Our noon duty aides are very permissive. They ignore a lot of problems, and that is contributing to all this tattling.

I don't think my students are chronologically younger than previous classes, but they are very immature. A couple of them shouldn't have started kindergarten quite so young in my opinion, but as you commented, many parents perceive school to be free daycare. That is such a disservice to their children, because the standards are SO HIGH that these kids must be mature enough to handle the rigors of the academics, and they must be able to conduct themselves well in a big class.

Michelle said...

Were you describing my class? I think you were!!!

I hate to admit it, but thins is part of the reason I'm bailing after over a decadein the classroom. Sad but true.

I will say a little prayer that you have a much better year (and group of kiddos) beginning in the fall!

AprilMay said...

UGH! You poor thing! I am so glad that this year is ending soon for you! I had a horrible class like that, but then I had 4 really terrific years in a row! But...then a bad group again, LOL.

Here's praying you get a super group next year (and a baby too)!
I think 3rd grade might help. It's a fun grade to teach!
PS...both of my boys were 6 when they started kindergarten, because I knew it would be better for them to be older! And of course, it was.

Michelle said...

You have had a tough year this year, and you have every right to complain.

There was a huge problem with tattling at my old school. Something that I found helped with the older kids(the ones who could write), was this:

Whenever a child approached me to tattle, I would tell them "I'm sorry, but I have all of these other children to tend to and I can't listen to your side right now, but if you write it in a report, I will read it later and we can meet with the other party involved tomorrow(or later in the day), and try to resolve the problem."

I made sure to tell them that the "report" had to be as detailed as possible and at least one (legibly)hand-written page.

After they realized they were going to have to do this every single time they wanted to tattle, it got old and they started to resolve issues on their own(for the most part).

I found that it worked quite well. Also, in the few instances where the kids really did write me a report and we did meet with the other party it opened up some very good dialogue between the children having the dispute that probably wouldn't have happened otherwise.

I hope the next month goes by quicky for you so you can enjoy a long, relaxing summer!

2weeks2much said...

You have every right to complain. You have a tough job and you don't get the praise you deserve. So here's to you (raise your imaginary glass now)!

Paula said...

No wonder Oprah had ALL teachers in the audience of her Favorite Things shows a couple of years ago.
You guys deserve it!

Donna & Joe said...

Wow, and I thought I had problems at work. Sounds like teaching is definitely no picnic. At least I have an office where I can take a breather once in a while. Teachers have to be "on" all the time.

Sorry you had a tuff school year. Here's hoping for a more functional group of kids next year!

Donna :)

Lisa and Tate said...

School is almost out!!! Hang in there, hopefully next year will be much better.


OH MY #6 said...

Poor you. Tell them, I said leave my friend alone!

Hoping that a better year for you is coming.


Karen said...

After not having taught full time this school year, I can honestly say that I miss it and I don't miss it. And the reasons I don't miss it are exactly some of what you are talking about - cramming too many kids in one room, parents not teaching their children responsibility and respect at home first, etc. etc. etc. I could go on forever. And I'm actually not going back to teaching for the time being... I've just been promoted to the position of Center Director at one of those learnng center type tutoring facilities (it's one of the major ones). I've been a part time tutor there for 9 months and I absolutely love it. We still have our rude and obnoxious little ones but it's just a different atmosphere.

I wish you the best as you finish out this school year and hope that you never have a class as big as this one again! The end is in sight...

thewrittenword said...

33 students in one class? No wonder your having difficulties this year - how can you possibly teach and take care of that many children at the same time?

PIPO said...

Mama said there would be years like this ;0) I feel like I say that to myself quite often lately too.

I vote that we are both in for a better year ahead!