Exhausted Update!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Exhausted Update!!
5
Sat, 12-22-2012 - 7:26pm

Hello ladies,

I'll try to keep this as positive as I can as to not be accused of being a complainer or someone who seems unsatisfied. I thought I gave balanced accounts of what happens in  my life, but since I don't, I'm going to make it my goal to list the positives FIRST and then the CHALLENGES!!

Positives first, I'm home with family and friends and that's most important this time of year. I am in charge of my own classroom again and that is important for my resume.

My mother is on the mend as she was having health issues that have now been conquered. I get to see my friends children grow up and see how much they've grown since I've been away,

I once again have a busier social calendar because my friends and I love going somewhere to get a drink!!

It's all a slow go, but I'm feeling like things may turn around in the next 6 months. Overall, i have the things that are most important and that's what counts most, especially during the holiday season.

Now onto the challenges: I have 35 kids in a classroom in a new school system that has no set curriculum yet. My students are 2 grade levels below and 3 of them CANT READ AT ALL, yes they are 9 and 10 years old.

My days are super long, our breaks are super short, and we only get paid once a month, which I am having very much difficulty with.

My car has issues and the neighborhood my mother lives is, LOOKS LIKE HELL. But hey, complaining is for the birds right?

So that's it, my update for now. There's more but I'm too tired to keep going. Besides, I'm trying to change my "Debbie Downer" ways.

Peace on earth ladies,

Ruth

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002
Sat, 12-22-2012 - 8:37pm

I am having a Merry Christmas.  What can I say?

--Beth

P.S.  I don't want to complain either.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2000
Sat, 12-22-2012 - 9:02pm

It's great to hear from you! Now you are officially a teacher and can rejoin us without reservation.

Hey, remember this is a support board. You have people here to listen and advise. Problems are downers and we all have our share. Don't be even harder on yourself over a passing comment or someone's opinion who isn't in your shoes. You are great because you don't give up. You get frustrated but you vent, think it over, make decisions and pull yourself back up tp face the world. You don't give up and that's admirable. Too many people today live on their excuses and have a perpetual pity party.

I got paid once a month in higher ed and it's a pain. Right now  most of our income arrives in the first week or so of the month and most of the bigger bills are due in the last half of the month.  You learn to budget and arrange a flow, but it takes a while.

You're experienced enough to know what your kids need. Recruit some parent volunteers to work with your slower ones. Make some take-home packets for parents to work with. Try revolving small groups and differentiate.  You'll think of something once you get your groove back.  You can't work miracles in a few weeks or months. Set a goal for improvement and start taking those steps!! You'll love making the difference and that's just what you need right now.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you more often! We've missed you.

Enjoy those old friends and your family. Have a Merry Christmas!

 

Sherry
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Sat, 12-22-2012 - 9:39pm

Thanks Sherry,

I've been accused of that on my Facebook page as well. I really believed that I was even handed in discussing my lifes ups and downs, but since its a common theme for people to say that to me, I will honestly try to balance my comments more.

I can help lower functioning students, but I've always been stumped when it comes to a student who is illiterate and over the age of 5. These three kids dont tune into reading at all because its something they cant do so why pay attention?

Example, We're reading "Tales of a 4th grade nothing", we review the previous chapter before we go on to the next, so these particular three were talking so tough and spinning in their chair and just completely tuned out, I asked them to step out until I was done.

I know I cant do that all the time, but I just wanted to finish ONE chapter without their constant disruptions. Just sitting there laughing and talking and spinning, I call on them just to see if they know ANYTHING and the say, "huh, what?, naw, I dont know the answer, I didn't even hear you"

How do you teach someone who is tuned out and doesn't care to tune back in? But then are disruptive and in the way of learning for others who want to understand.

Also, the mean girls!! I have a group of girls who just pick on people and put them down and WOW, I have had to go so HARD on them because at one point they were trying to do it to ME. Its such a challenge.

Oh and the parents I deal with, dont believe in coming up to a school for anything unless you make them. But I will reach out because, if I get even ONE to help me sometimes, it will make a great difference.

As for the money, OMG. This company does business in a very "shady" way and its much....

Like I said, many ups, many down, but there has been progress. More than slight, but not so great yet that I want to say its better. Its getting there you know.

I am getting a little tired of teaching Black children who know little or nothing at all and seem content about it. I mean I have one who just does no work some days, just sits there and then when he gets a low grade or a zero, he's actually mad.

I said, I never fail anyone who tries their best, regardless if they get the right answers or not. But when you just do nothing, I have nothing to go on. i said I can't pass you without work to show. He doesn't care, his mother has been informed but he still does nothing.

Did I mention the honesty issue. These kids lie so much, I had to make it a rule on the wall that, "EVERYONE IS HONEST" cause the lying was getting too ridiculous.

Love my colleagues, nice looking school building and my admins so far seem very supportive and helpful.

As for the holidays, I have tons of plans with friends and family but they will all be receiving NEW YEARS gifts as I dont get paid until Dec. 31st. (at least I get paid, so again no complaining)

I am happy to be alive and healthy and having  roof over my head. My dog is doing well and I did get a great gift from my Secret Santa at work.

Thanks for your love and support Sherry and Beth, I appreciate it so much. Happy Holidays and I'll keep you posted. I am so busy now that holidays and breaks are the only times I have to post on this board now.

I do truly understand that despite all my issues I am very blessed.

Ruth

Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
Sun, 12-23-2012 - 10:48am

Can you get the book on tape/MP3 for the kids who can't read?  I had a boy a couple of years ago who couldn't read "cat" some days and he was the same age.  Either someone had to read it everything to him or it had to be on tape.  I'm not sure if your school has the money to purchase those things, but we have MP3 players we can check out from the library now.  The other option would just be to give them a book on their level.  Is this a book your grade level has to read?  If you have so many not reading at grade level, you could always just put them all in different books.  I usually switch back and forth between whole class and small groups because I think it's important that the ones who are behind be exposed to the more complicated literature. 

You can't really do anything about the lack of parent involvement.  It would be nice to find just one parent who could help out once in awhile, and maybe try to rally the others, but I know that's not always something that happens. 

Another thing that came to mind- have you ever looked at Chris Biffle's Power Teaching?  Just do a search on YouTube for him.  It take a LOT of energy, but he has a lot of good ideas for keeping kids engaged.  The only thing I use right now is the scoreboard, but it does help.  It's losing it's luster at the moment, so I'm going to have to come up with some different rewards for winning.  They seem to really like extra recess. 

I'm glad to see you're looking at the brighter side of things.  Getting paid once a month was difficult for me at first, too, but now (after 14 years of it) it's no big deal.  Now you've reminded me I need to pay my bills!

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2000
Wed, 12-26-2012 - 10:38pm

As I was reading your description of your non-readers I was thinking recorded book and then I saw Shy suggested the same thing.  I once had a very poor reader at 6th grade and I put him with a recorded book and the print copy. He had to listen and try to read along with the text for a chapter and then I asked him questions. He earned a reward such as candy,  a small toy or some other item he wanted for each correct answer. It was bribery but it got him to listen and look at the text. He finally realized that word convey ideas and when I started giving him books on subjects he was really interested in his word recognition started to improve. Then he earned a bonus for each word he could point out to answer the question.  Slow but it helped him start to focus on reading for information and pleasure. I had volunteers record the books that he was interested in.  Classic lit and titles that the class read together were often not interesting to him.

Your gang of girls are becoming a common problem in many schools and sadly at lower and lower grades. I had one last year in fourth that I swear spent all her waking moments thinking of ways to irritate, infuriate, and intimidate those weaker than her. She had a gang of followers who found it easier to join her than be her target, They took orders and often carried out her dirty work.  I walked by the fifth grade classroom the other day and there was the teacher with three of them, leader and two followers, in the hall asking them what in the world they were doing treating others the way they were. He told them he had seen enough and was tired of warning them to straighten up. Obviously little has changed.  Do I have a magic wand for this, no, but I'd just keep, talking, explaining, reasoning, and helping the analyze their actions.  You might find a good book on bullies and have them analyze the situations and role play the victim to verbalize his/her feelings.  Then have them role play the bully and verbalize their reasons for their actions.   Finally have them role play the observers and verbalize their feelings about the bully and the victim. This might open a meaningful discussion.

Sherry