It’s been quite the week. I can’t really go into most of what’s happened or what I’ve learned. Not the specifics, anyway. I can talk about my evaluation, which took place today. Basically, I was told I’m doing very well, but that I need to speak louder and be more of a disciplinarian in the classroom.
Which brings us back to how the week has gone. I got really upset with a group of boys in one of my classes on Monday. They earned it. They’ve been asking for it for a while, so I did the class a favor and got them put in the in-school suspension for a while. When they come back, things will have to be different. I’m not putting up with their crap any more. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to realize I’ve let this group of boys hold the class hostage. I’ve had to give the class worksheet after worksheet, riding them constantly to keep things from degenerating into chaos. No more. I’ll plan the lessons I want to teach, and if they want to play their games, they can go back to ISS.
Another of the new teachers, hired the same time I was and with a pretty similar recent background, came to pretty much the same conclusion this week. She also teaches remedial students, but they’re older. And bigger. To make it worse, she got a taste of what it’s like to have an AP class when she covered for another teacher for an hour. As she put it, “It was like going from the zoo to a real classroom with real students.” Yeah, that’s about it.
Another teacher hired when I was is getting out at the end of this semester. He decided he’s going to live on his retirement rather than deal with the paperwork of teaching. Can’t blame him. He has to plan for 10 classes. Yes, 10 of them. Long story.
For my part, I’m still (mostly) enjoying it. There are days, or classes, like on Monday, but overall I still love what I do. Seeing the kids finally react to The Pigman, for instance, was great. Hmm. That’s been the only recent highlight. Lately it’s been more like the seniors who won’t break their essays into paragraphs and don’t know what I mean when I say they’re using sentence fragments.
But then you hear stories like the one I heard today and you just wonder how some of these kids get by day to day. This particular case doesn’t even involve one of my students, though the person is a friend of one of my students.
Oh! There was one highlight, though I can’t take any credit for it. One of my creative writing students from last block, a very precocious young lady who still comes to visit me after school some days, just took the ACT and got a very nice score. She was very happy about it and I’m quite proud of her. She’s one you just know will do well.
I started outlining a new story today. It’s not a happy story. I’m aiming for novella length, at least 25,000 words. I won’t go into what inspired the story, but the inspiration to finally actively look for a topic came from Saturday’s meeting of the Oklahoma Speculative Fiction Syndicate. We agreed to set goals. My goals are to finish revising The Fetch and The Puppet King first and foremost. But there’s still that one publisher who is interested in seeing a novella from me, but I didn’t have anything to send, Little Graveyard on the Prairie being too short. I think this one will fit. I suspect it will be difficult to write because of the subject matter and, hopefully, unsettling to read. If I can pull it off. We’ll see.