Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pet Peeves... We've All Got Them

Pet Peeve:
A minor annoyance, that a person finds to be particularly annoying to a higher degree than others.

I have several.  

Hearing someone eat.  Hearing someone slurp when they drink.  Hearing someone smack gum.  Seeing cabinet doors left open.  Leaving wet towels on the floor.  Waking me up for any other reason than the house is on fire or someone is seriously ill.

And I could go on.

I guess you can consider all of those things "minor annoyances", but they drive me nutso.

I've realized that there should also be a new set of pet peeves...class peeves.

I've discovered in the past week or so that one of my biggest class peeves is time wasting.  Waiting forever for instructions to be followed, and being able to move on with all the stuff I have to do but not having near enough time to do it all.

And it's been the cause of my temper to go blazing through the roof in 3.2 seconds flat.

I have an amazing class.  Really, I do.  They are hard working, pretty quiet when they need to be, and they all get along.  

But for some reason, some of the students in my class have the worst habit of such disorganization that it takes them forever and a day to find something in their desk or to prepare for a lesson because they are wading through stuff trying to find the materials that they need.

So, also add a lack of disorganization to my list of class peeves.

One of my hardest challenges of being a teacher, thus far, has been trying to find a way for my students to be more organized and responsible for their belongings, their homework, and being able to transition from one subject to another without taking too much time.  

I have set up a folder system in which each subject has it's own folder to keep papers. I've set up them having a homework folder to put any homework in to that goes home every day, regardless of if there's homework or not - just so they're in the habit of taking it home on the days that they need to.  I've given them planner sheets to write down all of their assignments, and start out each lesson and end each lesson having the entire class fill out their planners so that nobody "forgets" to write something down.  

Yet, I still feel like I'm spending close to ten minutes per transition just getting the students ready for each subject...and with five core lessons and small group time each day, those ten minutes each time sure do add up.

I've looked for ideas...Google, Teacher Boards, Pinterest...and haven't found anything that is any better than what I'm currently doing.  

Each morning, before the day gets started, I let the kiddos know what assignments need to be turned in and which materials are going to be needed for the day.  Yet, it's not uncommon for some of the kiddos to ask me several times throughout the day if they were supposed to turn in a homework assignment from the night before, or tell me that they never received certain papers that I handed out that morning.  

At the end of the day, I tell all of my students to get out their planners and homework folder and go through each lesson telling the students to make sure they have what they need in their folders, the books they need to take home, and any materials they may need to take with them.  Only for the next morning to have several students tell me they didn't do their homework because it was buried in their desk and never made it home the night before.

"Minor annoyance" are not really the words I can use to explain how I feel when that happens.

And the bad thing is, I feel like a lot of my annoyance isn't all motivated by my students.

On the first day of school, I told my students how I was NOT a big fan of homework.  Never have been, probably never will be.  A lot of that comes from the fact that I feel bad for my own biological children that spend all day at school, two hours at sport practices, and then come home and spend their last little bit of time before bed doing homework.  My Peanut has been up many nights until gone 11PM trying to get all of her homework finished...or I've found her passed out on her bed with a textbook and notebook on top of her.  The next morning, she's woken up in a panic around 5AM and had to spend the morning trying to get it finished.

I'm a strong believer that once school is finished for the day, other than spending maybe 30 minutes on some practice every now and then or finishing up a few problems from an assignment, the kids should be able to relax and spend time with their families.  

Yet, because of how much that needs to be done in a day, and the lack of time to do it, and the time that has been wasted throughout the day getting organized... my kiddos have had a lot more homework than I've bargained for.

I will be the first to tell you that I truly believe I am a rockstar at classroom management.  But time management?  Yeah, not so much.  

And that's not just my students' fault.  I tend to take more time explaining stuff and showing examples than I plan on, because I refuse to just move on and let them work on an assignment if they don't get it.  That's just silly.  Why on earth would I set a certain amount of time for explanation, and then when the time is up make them start an assignment if they're still not sure how to do what I'm asking them to do?

I just know that if they were a little more organized, life would be a lot easier for both them and me - and they'd have a little more time in class to get everything finished rather than needing to take it home every night.  

One thing I do know, though, is that my temper has definitely made some changes since last year.  I told you all last week how Mrs. Krabby wasn't coming out of her shell as much this year.  And, that stands true even in the most trying of times.

Yesterday, after giving my students 20 minutes first thing in the morning to locate their homework, get the materials they need, and write down their first objective for the day...I still had some students not prepared when it was time to get started.

I was fuming.  

Rather than scream or yell or make a big scene, I simply walked out in to the hallway, took several deep breaths, and walked back in to the room and started my lesson.  The students that weren't prepared would just have to get that way while I was teaching.  And they did.  They got a little frazzled by my getting started without them ready, but I figure it was a good lesson for them getting a little taste of what I felt like when I had given them 20 minutes to prepare, and them not choosing to do so.

Class peeves or not, I know that I can't have a "perfect" class.  There are going to be some bumps in the road that will take some time to smooth out.  They'll get there.  I have a strict motto in my class...


My kids know what it means, and how I use it.  Homework being left at home or not taken home in the first place results into a bad grade.  Not being prepared when they've been given ample time to do so, results in them being behind and having to really hustle to catch up.  Sitting around visiting with friends instead of doing the work results in having to take the unfinished assignment home.  

Consequences are always attached to a behavior...both good and bad.  They know that about me, and hopefully it will start to sink in how much easier their lives would be if they just took a little more initiative in getting prepared and organized and following directions.

I know I can get them there.  I know it may take a little pushing and shoving.  I know that it could result in some sour feelings towards me.  But, in the end, when they start to see how much easier life can be if they just put things where they're supposed to go...then, maybe they'll realize that I wasn't such a big, bad, mean teacher and that I actually wanted them to have an easier time in class and less homework.

One can only hope.

Until that happens, I'm just going to focus on trying to get them there and looking for ways to make all of our lives less stressful.  

But right now, I have to get ready for work.

Tonight is Butter's first football game.  I'm super excited to see him play, being that I've NEVER seen him play in a competitive sport.  OK, so he played T-Ball when he was 4.  Not sure that really counts.  He's been waiting many years to have the opportunity to be on a football team, and now his wish is coming true.

I'll have all the details from the game tomorrow.

Until then...

Have a Great Tuesday!!


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