Three Days In!
In all seriousness, I think my first week has gone really well. There have been some low points ... but there will be. Teaching--and especially teaching high-risk kids and students with special needs--tends to be romanticized in pop culture, but the reality is that real kids, teachers, and classrooms aren't Dangerous Minds or Freedom Writers. These boys are in this school for a reason; they face multiple challenges, the least of which are sometimes the diagnoses listed on their Individualized Education Plans.
This week, I have been focusing heavily on building rapport. I think it's working. One of my students told Bobby, "Yo Mr. Rob, your wife is cool as shit!" That's high praise! I've been told by another that he has my back if anyone messes with me, and another told me today, "Ms. W-T, I like your attitude!"
Success in this classroom is very different than what I called success with my honors students while student teaching. With the honors kids, success was one of those classes where everything was clicking and the students were really engaged and taking their thinking to the next level. Success in this classroom is keeping some of the guys in my room and awake long enough to get their classwork finished.
But then there are moments of surprising triumph. I have a student, J, for two mods each day. I've enjoyed having him in class because he's willing to participate and engage with what we're doing, even if I know he'd rather be somewhere else. I took in my stuffed soccer ball to use for some of our activities, and he juggles it constantly during class. Today, he came in, did his classwork, and left to go down to the weight room. Later, though, the academic coordinator told me that, prior to my class, he'd met with J because he'd just found out that J had passed the federally mandated HSA test for English. He wanted J to know that he no longer needed my class and could switch to another class if he preferred. But, no, he said he wanted to stay with me.
I'm still boggling over that. That's high praise indeed!
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!