My week began quietly, with few behavior problems (except for the 2 boys who constantly challenge, disrupt, and question every class activity that we do), until Thursday. This week, we were required to give benchmark tests, just for my district. The endless multiple-choice, uber-boring pages of questions took up 3 days of our week. As a comprehensive pre-test, it will have been the longest of all of the benchmark tests we take (from here on out, we will take "unit" benchmarks every 4-5 weeks--yay.). Thursday morning, after one student finished (rather early I might add, because he didn't read/think about the questions) he was supposed to choose between reading, writing in his journal, or drawing, all in his seat. He made the choice to walk around the room, ask to go to the restroom, ask to go get a drink, kick his desk, tap his pencil, make noises with his mouth, etc, etc. After calmly asking him to stop a few times, I sent him next door to write a behavior plan, which he did. "Ok, handled that." I thought to myself. But when afternoon came, and the time for our confusing schedule of Creek language and computers, the student started in again. Disagreeing and arguing with me about where the class was supposed to be going at this time (really, he thought that I didn't know?) my other constantly-disruptive student joined him. The 2 boys rudely insisted that we were going to the wrong place as the rest of the class quietly lined up. I pulled them aside as the rest of the class went to Creek and computers and asked them if they thought that their behavior was appropriate. With sarcasm and eye-rolling, they both answered "no." I told them when we returned to the room I would need them to write another behavior plan. The first student (who wrote a plan already that day) wrote at the bottom of his "you can't tell me what to do." The other student calmly filled his out, and returned it with mom's signature the next day (yes!). Meanwhile, I knew I needed to call the first student's parents after school, after the complete lack of respect and blatant ignoring of my directions. I was SO nervous!
Just as I was getting ready to call, my classroom phone rang. It was yet another parent, calling to say that my problem child of the day had ripped and threw out the window her son's homework on the bus after school. I added it to my list of things to mention to Student 1's mother. I picked up the phone with trepidation, scrolling through the number of things that could come out of the parent's mouth and the number of things that could go wrong. I quickly dialed the number. When she picked up, I introduced myself and explained that I had some behavior issues at school today. Before I explained, I mentioned his full completion of homework, good participation during class discussions, and no academic problems with him (always start off with something good, right?). Then I explained what had happened. She was surprisingly (at least to me) very supportive and appreciative of the call, saying that she would "take care of things" at home. Whew! I took a huge breath of relief as I replaced the phone to its cradle.
I was feeling better until I got home and laid down to go to sleep, then the what-ifs began (always when you try to sleep, right?). What if I sounded like an experienced first-year teacher when I made that call today? What if she was just saying that to get me off the phone? What if there were more issues on the bus in the morning on the way to school? What if mom talks to him and he lashes out tomorrow and is even worse? What if she beats him and he shows up with bruises tomorrow? What if he is just so terrible that I can't control him? What do I do next? AHH! Needless to say, it took awhile for me to fall asleep.
Friday morning, however, brought a signed behavior plan from one child, a good bus report from another, and a calm, changed spirit of the first child. My sense of relief I observed this at the beginning of the day was absolute bliss.
Now, it's the weekend, and it's time to write lesson plans. Does it ever end?
From the feeling-a-teensy-bit-more-confident,