Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hanging by a thread

In my last post, I examined the concept of ownership as it connects to the school I teach at. Polski3 asked if I at least had ownership of my classroom.
The question made me pause. It came as an unexpected question, but one worth investigating. And my conclusion is no, I don't have ownership in my classroom.
One reason is that I don't have a classroom, I float. But I know that is not what he meant. Do I have sense that these students are "my students" is what I suspect he is getting at.
Would it be wrong to admit that quite possibly I have not invested myself completely into my students? A few of them, I know I have invested into; but on the whole, I don't think I have invested as much as I could.
The reasons are selfish. But let me share. In order to do this, though, I must temporarily suspend my New Year's Resolution of positivity. Please don't be offended.
Today marked the start to semester two. It was chaos. In the study hall I monitor with another teacher, we had a group of students, some who I have in other classes, arrive into the cafeteria and sit down, as if we were not present. They weren't supposed to be there. They were confused as to which study hall they had, and so decided to come to the cafeteria. Not one of them appeared on our list. Okay. We'll let them stay and figure out their schedules later.
What do they do? They wrestle, they drop "F-bombs," they blast their music, and then they refuse to follow our directives. They act like complete asses.
Security doesn't help.
During our recent finals, I had one student walk out, twelve not even bother to show up, three who didn't finish and didn't bother to come in to finish.
I've had a student challenge me to a fight because I wouldn't let him leave study hall ten minutes before the bell rang.
One young lady told me to fuck myself when I asked to see her pass.
I've heard more "motherfucker's," "pendejo's," and "puta's" than the dictionary has words.

So, the list could go on, but I'm being positive this year. Ultimately, I don't think I have ownership of my classroom because I don't know that I want to own it. What does that mean about me as a teacher?


At 5:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that you are still not talking about your classes, but maybe that, in itself, tells the story. What is the line between "can't" belong and "won't" belong?

At 6:40 AM , Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I'm not too sure I would want to have a sense of belonging to that school. How is one happy there? It is obviously not a place where learning and growing are valued.

At 11:00 AM , Blogger Dan Edwards said...

Sometimes we can't "own" everything. In my experience, there are times when borrowing or renting are better.....perhaps, as unfortunately, we all have experienced, there are some students who we can make no impact upon. But there are others, the vast majority, that we can really help them push onward with their quest towards success.

Being a new teacher in a new high school is tough. It sounds like many students in your school (district), have been victims of a lack of authority in passing through the halls of your district's schools. But dispite that, I'll bet there are quite a few gems amongst them who you can inspire and help grow.

That aside, are you looking at other options for 08-09 ?


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