Today was a hard day.
We were supposed to have our whole school day at the swimming pools, but it got rained out so we didn’t go. The kids didn’t know till they turned up with their togs on at 9am. It was raining and windy all day long, and so cold we had to close all the windows and the door. Because we were supposed to be at the pools all day, we had no planning for today.
The kids stayed inside during morning tea...
In the middle block, Archana wasn’t there. (For context, the first block I had been teaching by myself in the classroom when we have been team teaching for three weeks).
I’d love to say it all went perfectly. I mean, it could have been worse. But that block tested me.
I introduced Jolly Phonics (had never done that before) and the students started grumbling because they thought it was ‘baby-ish’, which was fair enough. They do know how to say ‘s’ properly, its the Jolly Phonics that will happen later on that will be the learning focus for them...
Then we tried to finish off our Tiddler Houses (artwork). That took ten minutes when it was supposed to take the whole hour…
I then made a deal with them that if they wrote something for me for 15 minutes, they could then play a game for the last 15 minutes before lunch. Great! I ask them all the time ‘what did you learn today?’, so I wanted them to write about it so we could use it for the class blog.
I had two students in particular, one who kinda always gives trouble (student A), and one who is typically an angel and quite the teachers pet (student B).
Student A, I put my attention on first as he does have special learning needs as well, and we talked about what was happening with him, at home, etc., and I asked him to take out his hearing aids. Wow! Literally the next minute he was off writing, giving me great ideas and sentences. Success!
Student B didn’t want to do the work, laid on the floor, complained, started singing aloud and disrupting others. When I spoke to her, she said nothing was wrong etc, trying to get me to leave her alone. I suggested ‘how was it sitting next to Student A earlier’?. She smiled. Not an innocent one, but a almost creepy smile. Aha! I said to her, are you acting like this because of Student A? She admitted yes, she was trying to be silly like him. Alright, thats fine, lets move on …
I gave her something else to do, a *special* task only she could do, and she went and focused and did it. Awesome. I’ve got this. Two troublesome kids and both on board. Ten minutes later, I called the class in and we played our game as promised.
The lunch bell rang. The kids stayed inside…. again…..
The students ate their lunch and talked, thats fine. I got the idea to watch a movie together, a way to keep them occupied and quiet throughout lunchtime in a positive fun way. But then I couldn’t connect my laptop to the projector, ugh, embarrassing for me, disappointing for the kids. We started playing so maka lo together as a class - the students were listening, responsive etc. Student B was not. She sat in the middle of our circle staring at me. She put on a ‘classroom monitor’ tag, I asked her to take it off, she didn’t. Twice. I started to get impatient. Throughout the whole lunchtime, she talked back to me, ignored me, didn’t do what I asked her to etc. She really tested my patience. The class got a bit too rowdy and my patience was wearing a little too thin, so I asked them to either read, write or draw. They did, they went away quietly and did it. Except Student B. Student C made a paper plane, and I asked him (aloud, so the whole class could hear) to not throw it and put it in his bag, and he did so happily. Student B got up, made a paper plane and threw it across the classroom. I lost it a little. I went over to her, snatched the plane out of her hand, scrunched it up and put it in the bin. I addressed the class (not her in particular) and reminded them what I had just said, and said if anyone else throws planes they will loose them as well.
Student B just wouldn’t stop.
When the bell for lunch to finish came around, she wanted to do a special job that Archana had mentioned a couple days ago, and I asked her ‘do you think you deserve to go and do that after the way you have behaved?’. She straight up said no. She knew.
For the last block, she listened, did what she was told etc. Back to her old self. But I think she just wanted to go do the special thing…
It’s just a bad day.
Yeah, but it’s not…
As a BT in a co-teaching role, I haven’t experienced this level of purposeful defiance before. It was hard, yes, it really tested my patience, yes.
But it was good for me.
I need to remember that I need to keep building up my teacher role with the students, and not get comfortable with the illusion that the students to see me as their teacher. I am not a student-teacher, but they might see me that way still. Having Archana not be in the class wasn’t scary, I was comfortable to be there and had confidence in myself as a teacher, but the students, well no, one student, obviously was not.
I told Archana about this experience and we agreed it would be best if I kept on top of Student B, to reinforce my role as teacher. If Archana stepped in and said something to her, it would reinforce the students belief that she is above me, protecting me etc. I need to deal with this on my own, but it is helpful to know I have Archana there when I need her.