The new school year begins soon.
Two weeks from tomorrow is the first day of school. Well, the first day with students. We teachers go back the week before.
Honestly, I’m feeling a bit anxious about it. Last year was pretty good. I started at a new school where there’s a great team to work with and administration is supportive. I’m teaching history, my major, and was mostly able to stick to my boundaries of leaving school at school. So, what do I have to be anxious about?
Plenty, it turns out. My prior teaching experiences have not been the best and I’m worried that something will happen to make this year awful. The incoming 8th graders have quite the reputation already and I’m nervous. A lot of it has to do with student behavior. I run a tight ship when it comes to behavior expectations and most students do fine. There are always a few, though, that are determined to make life miserable for everyone else. Now, I understand that that many of these kids have issues at home and this is their way of acting out. I get it.
But I’m not a child psychologist. I’m not their parent. I’m their teacher. I’m responsible for teaching history to 100+ 13- and 14- year-olds everyday. These are not kindergarteners learning how to behave in a classroom. They’ve been at this for a while. They know the expectations, and if they are acting like jerks, it’s a usually a choice they’re making. I’ve been disrespected, cussed out, and verbally abused more times than I can count. Several years ago, I even had an 8th grade student come at me, pulled back by another student.
I have, and will, be as understanding and as patient as I possibly can. I give a lot of chances to self-correct, cool down, take a few minutes, whatever it is that they need, but if a kid flips a chair in my room, they’re out. If they use racial slurs, they’re out. One hundred percent unacceptable. I really wish parents could see how their kids act at school. Many of them would be amazed and not in a good way.
The other thing I’m worried about are some of the parents.
First, a disclaimer.
Let me just say that most parents are great. They can be wonderful allies and team members to help their kiddos be the best they can be and I appreciate them very much…