Sunday, October 10, 2010

A little class

I'll just warn you now that this post is rude, a bit uncaring, and a lot ungrateful. Sorry bout that.

I teach fourth grade. I love teaching fourth grade. It's my last year on probation. (All new teachers have a 3-year probationary period in my district.) I get to take an extra 6 or 7 week vacation this year to meet my baby. I have an awesome team of fourth grade teachers, a pretty cushy school, and administrators who are only crazy most of the time.

I just hate my class.

Well, that's not exactly true. As individuals, I like really really like 19 of my 21 students. One of them I could like if he could drop his attitude, and one I might be able to like if he weren't such a baby. But, as a whole, I really really don't like my class. It puts me in a bad mood just to have to walk in to the roomful of them every morning.

They NEVER stop talking. EVER. It does not matter how many times I ask, how much trouble they get in, or what incentives they get if they do actually stop. They won't shut up. Which is probably a big part of the reason I lost my voice for 3 days last week.

They are helpless. I get asked the same question every day about 10 times. Usually it's which basket to turn work in. Never mind that the baskets are color coded based on subject, and each basket is labeled. And when I tell them to figure it out on their own, they look at me like I just threatened to kill their puppy.

No one in the class can manage to put their names on their papers, or answer all the questions. This drives me batty. They are required to put their names on everything they turn in from Kindergarten on, but it's still a skill that's not there in fourth grade. And it ticks me off.

I'm getting all worked up just thinking about it. I am going to tell you about a couple of individuals though.

First off is B. B is the one with the attitude problem. Nothing is ever his fault. Usually, it's his mom's fault (according to him). We played a game in class on Friday, his team lost. While the rest of the class was telling me how much fun the game was, and could we please do it again, B pipes up and says "I thought it sucked." While listening to music in class (in theory, I have a deal with the kids that as long as they're quiet, we listen to music. If they start talking, we work in silence. You can guess how well this actually works.) The playlist I built of their favorite songs wasn't working, so I was playing a Weird Al playlist. They were talking. (Surprise!) I told them if it didn't stop, we were working in silence. B pipes up again "I'd rather work in silence than listen to this song."

He's a real jewel.

While writing report card comments last week, I realized I had nothing nice to say about T. I still don't. He acts like he's five. He whines, doesn't get along with anyone, and has no personal responsibility. He is constantly telling me "Well, I put it in my folder, but it's not there." Like it magically disappears. Every Friday, without fail, he is sick and wants to go to the nurse during our reading test. Never mind the fact that I've never let him go. Doesn't stop him a bit. And, like a five year old, he constantly (at least twice a day) wants band-aids for non-existent cuts.

I do have some awesome ones though. Like J and A, who are planning to dress up as me for Halloween. I told them they'd have the scariest costumes in the neighborhood. I have Br, M, N, and S, who are all at least a year ahead of the rest of the class in math, and are now excitedly learning pre-algebra from me. I guarantee they'll be teaching me by the end of the year. I have NA, who brings me a bag of chocolate covered pretzels anytime he brings them for himself.

I have good kids. If I could just have them 5 at a time, I think I'd be better, but I am grateful for them. Most of them anyway.


  1. I swear, I think you just described some of my 6th graders.

    When they are driving you bonkers, try looking at it this way: these kids are so awful, they are SO LUCKY to have a teacher like you who expects responsibility out of them. Sometimes I have to tell myself this just to get out of my car in the morning!!

  2. I am so sorry for your no fun class :(. Back when I worked at a camp and would be in charge of groups of campers (20-50), there was at least one week where I dreaded going to hang out with my girls. They. were. awful. Not nice to each other. Not nice to me. Mean, mean girls. I hope you are able to make it through the year!! But, really, sorry that they are not the best group.

  3. I can't say I know entirely how you feel as I'm not a teacher, but every Sunday I teach a group of kids 3-8 and then 9-12. The younger ones are great, but the 9-12's seem utterly incapable of following the simplest instructions, and completely fail on things they are capable of but slack on in the name of being funny or cool or social. The little ones do better! It drives me bonkers every week and I'm having such a hard time trying to get through to them. I (OFTEN) have to remind myself that I was exactly like them when I was that age, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with!

    I really enjoyed reading your vent because it helped me know I wasn't alone in my frustrations!

  4. I don't think you sound uncaring at all. Teaching is sooo tough, especially when there are a few that ruin the entire class!

  5. I'm sorry you have a tough group this year. It is so frustrating! It's a good year to be getting a little break from there! It's amazing how certain mixtures of good kids can be so bad. Good luck.

  6. I. feel. your. pain. My class is really getting on my nerves and I dread (absolutely dread) going to school each morning. And I love teaching! But my class this year is the pits. But again- it's just a few students who seem to spoil it for everyone. And I may or may not have told D the other day that I can't wait to get our first placement so I could take a break from school. haha!

  7. It takes a special person to teach. I know I couldn't do it!

  8. This was seriously my school year last year. I HATED going to work because my kids, while I liked them individually, did not mesh well together as a group.

    This year feels like dream year for me so hopefully your year will go by fast and then you can have your dream class soon!