Friday, January 24, 2014

Ending the Week on a High Note

It's Friday.  And for the first time in a while, I haven't felt like the week has whizzed by in the blink of an eye.  It's been a pretty long week.  Lots of downs, lots of ups, swimming, and riding on boats.  And, honestly, I'm really looking forward to the weekend so that I can just rest, relax, and clear my mind.

Yesterday was another day of me not feeling so stressed.  I ended the day still in a good mood, and not worrying about how much still needed to be done before the week ended.  I'm really focused on keeping the kids accountable for their learning, and I've explained to them that with all the changing I'm doing for them, I expect them to return the favor with the effort they put in.  Grades will reflect effort.  Something I'll be reminding parents, also, when I send home next week's newsletter.  

The start of a new semester is a great time to shake up the parents a little and send a reminder on how important things like finishing homework and spending a little time reading at home can be.  I'm also really focused on stuff like reading and following directions.  And, if directions aren't followed, it can have a HUGE impact on a grade for an assignment.  

I have a feeling I'll be sending home a few F's on the weekly report cards I send home next week (because there's only one or two assignments submitted).  With the new semester, grades start over.  And, it's in those first few weeks when I can really grab the kids' attention.  When they see those F's, they start to panic.  Some even panic at the sight of a C.  But, with every failing grade that's handed out, I offer the opportunity for a make-up assignment or extra work.  I haven't had a single student take me up on that offer this week, so when those grades go home on Monday and the parents are informed of why the F's were given and the opportunity for those grades to be improved were passed by, I'm hoping it will shake things up a little.  

I know that sounds kinda harsh, and not exactly a positive outlook, but I'm all about taking some responsibility.  I've realized my mistakes and have vowed to work on fixing them, but the kids also need to realize that in the end, they won't be spoon fed just so they can pass.  They want to earn all A's?  Well, they are going to have to actually do the work to get them.  And, an F on an assignment is never "game over" for me.  I will ALWAYS offer opportunities to make it up, replace the grade with something different.  But, if it's not that important to the student, then it's not that important to me when I send it home for the parents to see.

And just when I start to get my ducks in a row in the classroom, we have a setback at home.  

Long time readers will know some of the struggles I've had with Butter in the past.  His past.  His ability to overcome a disorder.  And, for the past year and a half, that boy has come leaps and bounds to what we were going through two and three years ago.

But last night, we had a setback.  All the hard work he and Hubby and I have put in, set back leaps and bounds.

It all started over finding out he's been taking candy from my room when I've asked him repeatedly not to.  I buy candy to keep in my treasure chest at school.  For my students.  My biological children get plenty of treats at home, and need to stay out of the stuff I buy for the students.  

All of this I've told the kids over, and over, and over again.  Most days, Jelly will ask if she can have a piece of candy.  Sometimes, I'll let her have a piece.  Sometimes, I'll let Peanut and Butter have a piece.  IF THEY ASK!  

Yesterday, I discovered the new bucket of candy I bought over Christmas break (that has yet to have a single piece taken out for a student) was almost empty.  I'll admit, I was FURIOUS.  We've been back at school all of two weeks, and a TUB of candy.. almost gone.  And, I discovered my culprit when I hunted Butter down, and found him and his after school friends chowing down on yet another handful he had helped himself to.  The janitor had let me know that she'd seen Butter go in to my room countless times, while I wasn't in there, helping himself to the candy by the handfuls.

So, I confiscated his cell phone.  Told him that if he was going to steal from me, he was going to lose his phone for a few days.  And, had he let the issue stay right there, that would have been the extent of the punishment.  Besides him not being allowed to be in my classroom unless I was in there for a while.

But, he couldn't let it go.  When he got home, he went in to one of his moods.  When it was time for dinner, he refused to eat.  When Hubby went down to try and talk him in to eating dinner, Butter snapped and said some pretty nasty, disrespectful stuff.  Which earned the removal of his PS3 and his tablet.  

Hubby nor I will tolerate being spoken to that way.  And, he has to learn that when you do the crime, you pay the fine.  If you make that crime worse, your fine also increases.  I usually give an early release for good behavior, and had Butter made an effort to apologize for his actions, done his chores last night, and just let what happened go?  I probably would have given his cell phone back to him, after a harsh talking to.  But, now he's blown it, which really upsets me.  Yet, he needs to really understand that throwing things and going in to a temper tantrum never solves anything... it just makes matters worse.

However tough the situation may have been last night, I'm not going to let it get me down.  I'm not going to let it ruin my last day of work.  I am making a point of ending this week out on a high note.  I'm going to be happy, and stay in a good mood, and not let anything get in my way.

I'm excited about the work I'll be doing this weekend, planning my first reading unit.  I'm excited about the progress that will be made in the classroom in the next few weeks.  I'm certain that this week is just a transition week, and that once the kids really understand that I'm not kidding around...they'll step up to the plate to make me and themselves proud.

Just got to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Alright, I'm ready to get this Friday started!!


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