February 7, 2011

Year ten terrors!

Last period this afternoon. No polite way to describe the year ten humanities class: perhaps confrontational, out of control and nightmarish might work.

While at uni, we attended workshops by the almighty Bill Rogers, a classroom behavioral management guru. He honed his skills in some of the toughest classrooms around the world, and I'd have no doubt that under his tutelage, these kids would be calm, placid, and if not that, then just plain scared.

Instead, I managed to have them quiet for perhaps 3 minutes of the 90 minute class.

Swearing, talking on the phone, taking off pants (to get changed), throwing plastic coke bottles into the wall, punching each other, flinging things at others' heads, walking in and out of the room to greet friends in the corridor.. Who knew such a spectrum of distracting behavior could render my 4 hour lesson planning so utterly useless. Ah, but the foibles of a beginner teacher...

"Why are you at school?" I ask, attempting to change tactics and observe the chaos detachedly, wryly noting this is in no way supposed to be reflective of my teaching skills, and instead appears almost as a rite of passage for a teacher.
"To get an education. To get a job." replies a student, leaning back on his chair. The same student who, just a moment ago, was taking off his pants.
"Do you honestly believe that?"

One day at a time eh? I'll savour the small victories:

- I convinced two boys to move seats to the front row. After requesting repeatedly that they do so, and even after one of them moved back. Thank God at least they did that.
- After I had asked the class what they'd learnt today (desperately trying to salvage some power back), the disruptive kid I had earlier moved managed to reiterate a passing definition of globalisation. The quietest boy stayed after class after everyone had left and said quietly, "Miss, I learnt about Amnesty International."

It's a tiny step, but I'll take it.


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