March 20, 2007

Ack, today so far has been a rough one when in comes to student interactions.  Sometimes I feel that all I do here is shush people, yes I do answer questions and I love it when a student tells me that I helped them find a book they needed.  But wow today was a day of shushing.  First off I wrote up three girls who come in regularly during their free period.  They come in, sit in the back and talk, giggle, etc, essentially making it very clear to me that they aren’t studying.  So I would tell them to be quiet, ask them if they had work to do, try to separate them, try talking to their ring leader one on one.  Nope, not working, yesterday they ended up walking out into the hall, even after I asked them to stop.  Sigh, so I wrote them up and today when they came back to the center I walked them down to their deans.  Then right after I got back a teacher brought a student in who yesterday refused to listen to my request or even make eye-contact with me.  Even with the teacher and I reasoning with her, she still wouldn’t look at me or acknowledge my right to ask her to move if she won’t be quiet.  I hate writing people up, but I also hate being ignored.  I hate feeling powerless, although I am sure as students they feel even more powerless. 

I think what makes it harder is that I can’t understand where they are coming from, I just wasn’t that type of student.  I was such a goody-two shoes in high school.  If a teacher said jump, I asked how high, if my class would annoy a sub, I would apologize after school*.  Basically authority figures were a big deal to me, I also had a big need to be approved of/liked, so I wasn’t about to talk back to a teacher.

Unfortunately this leaves me quite clueless as to how to deal with students who don’t recognize my authority.  Yes I know that respect has to be earned, especially from students towards their teachers, but what I need is a basic recognition of my authority.  I know that part of what makes being a youth hard for teenagers is this feeling that they have very few choices and that they are constantly surrounded by people who have authority and control over them.  But, deal with it okay!  I am not that old, I mean it was only 5 years ago that I was a high school senior myself.  I can remember being a teenager and while I can’t imagine other influences these students might have or what kind of difficulties they might be experiencing in the rest of their life, I do know that it doesn’t take a whole lot to be respectful towards your authority figures.  In fact it will make your life so much easier.  A few pleases, thank yous, etc for a student are enough to make me melt these days.   A few “I’m sorry”s or shhs towards their fellow students really can make my day, but try to argue with me for the upteenth time that you weren’t talking, that you really do have a free period right now, or that by pulling that random reference book off the shelf you are actually working, I will not be amused.  And even though I hate it and will probably kick myself about it long after your punishment is over, I will write you up. 

*yes this actually happened in third grade, even though I laughed with the class when the class clown made all the jokes, I felt so bad I waited until after school and then told the sub I was sorry.  And yes, I was the nerdy kid in elementary school.


One comment

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