Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kids in the Summer vs. Kids Any Other Time

I've come to some fascinating revelations from my three days of teaching summer school.  The first one being that summer school is NOTHING like regular school.  No amount of degrees or college time or even classroom teaching time could prepare a person for the crazy that is summer school.

Not crazy, bad...crazy, hectic.  So many different kids coming and going throughout the day, barely having time to finish giving directions before the class period is over and a new set of kids are waiting at the door, a different schedule everyday....and after three days, still meeting kids for the first time.

One big factor that I've noticed in the past couple of days is that the kids don't act the same.  In fact, it's like they're not even the same kids that I grew to know and love during the school year.  

I think I'm a pretty "cool" teacher.  I'm pretty sure that if you asked random kids during the school year what type of teacher they thought I was, they'd reply with "mean" or "cool".  The mean comments would come from kids that had never had me, and only heard of me.  The cool comments would come from the kids that had me as a teacher or got to know me through my children.  

Mean is a kid's way of explaining "strict".  I honestly don't think many children really think I'm mean... especially not after the end of the year festivities that took place, or the big MAP awards that were done where I sung in front of the whole school.  For the most part, all the kids in the school know that I like to have a good time... and as long as they do what I ask, they'll be just fine.

But, walking in to that school last Thursday for my first day of summer school was almost like walking in to my classroom for the first time as a teacher.  The kids acted like they had no idea what type of teacher I'd be - and treated me accordingly.

I'm not sure if it's because of the fact that most of the kids don't really want to be at summer school, or if they think the normal school rules don't apply at summer school... but the kids are totally different.

The amount of times I've had a kid talk back to me, roll their eyes at me, blatantly tell me that what I'm teaching "sucks", or just sit there and refuse to do anything I tell them to is UNBELIEVABLE.  

Don't get me wrong, it's definitely not all of the kids or even the great majority of the kids... but way too many than I would have thought.  And kids that know me and were even in my class last year!

It's been hard, because I expected to go in there and have a really good time.  Enjoy myself with the kids... laugh, joke around, give them a chance to have fun while learning something in the process.  Instead, I've felt like a cranky old lady that does nothing but complain about the behavior of the kids.  

That's not me. I'm not like that.

I kid you not, I had one child yesterday that screamed in the lunch line that he didn't like beans.

Here's the conversation:

Child: (Extremely loud) EWWWWWWW!  I HATE BEANS!
Me:  Really, *child*, is that necessary?
Child:  It is if I don't like beans.
Me:  Excuse me?  
Child:  Who are you to tell me what I can and can't like?
Me: Urm, that wasn't the point and you know it.  There's no reason for you to yell in the lunch line.
Child:  I can if I want.  You can't tell me that I can't.

WHAT THE WHAT?? This kid was in my class last year and knows EXACTLY how I feel about back talking.

After coughing back the urge to yell... I swiftly took him to the side and told him exactly what I COULD tell him and couldn't tell him what he could do.  Regardless of my tone and the anger in my voice, he stood there looking at me as if I was telling him a funny story from my weekend.

In the morning, I have rotations of elementary kids and in the afternoon I have rotations of Jr. High kids.  In all honestly, I kinda expect the Jr. High kids to "test the waters".  They know I'm an elementary teacher, and they probably think I'll be a push over.  It took all of one day for them to realize what kind of teacher I am... and I honestly haven't had that much trouble since then.  They still like to run their mouths and act too cool for school.  But, I can find a way to deal with that.

I'm just shocked at some of the behavior issues I'm having from the elementary kids... my kids.  I got to know all of the 4th grade students last year, and several of the 3rd graders.  But, at the moment, I kinda feel like a sub that's never taught in the school before.  

And, again, it's definitely not ALL of the kids.  I am having a lot of fun with the majority of the kids and classes.  I guess it just takes a few days for the shock to sink in and for the kids to get used to my face being there.  

Today is a new day.  It's my goal to go in there today and not complain about behavior, but find those kids that are making my life easy and doing what summer school is all about:  Having fun.  I'm going to leave my crabby pants at home, and put on my happy shirt instead.  

I totally understand that some of the kids aren't really thrilled about having to be at summer school.  While I'm excited about getting to teach and be with the kids I love so much and earning a few extra dollars in the process - I'd probably rather be at home in my pool or sleeping in.  If I wasn't one of those crazy people that seeps teaching from my blood and do it because I want to rather than the money I'm earning.  

In all honestly, a part of me regrets not doing the whole 4 weeks...just because I think the transition is harder.  But, I needed to have the time...I've already explained that.  

But, this is a great learning experience for me.  Now I know.  I know how different it is.  I know how crazy, busy it is.  I know how hard it is to come in during the middle of summer school and try and pick up where another teacher left off.  

I have nine days left.  And it's now my mission to have a great time these last nine days.  It's also my mission to try and reach out to these kids that have been treating me..urm...less than right for whatever reason, and try and make amends.  Start over.  Remind them that I have a fun side, that I'm willing to share and show them.

OK, time to go find my happy shirt... I know it's around here somewhere....


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