Last term, my absolute favorite class was my Wednesday Par Reading class because the students were fantastic and the lessons were interesting. For example (illustration transition!), I taught a class on modern psychology (which I just so happened to have studied in college) and I had them do an ink blot test, to everyone’s enjoyment. Plus, it was my only class to I could go home early after teaching it.

This term, Wednesday is a little different. First of all, I’m teaching two classes and don’t get out early. Second of all, the classes are… challenge. And for different reasons. Let’s look at my first class:

Bridge Reading. By Wednesday, I’ve taught this class three other times so I’ve got it. I’ve know everything like the back of my hand and can teach the class pretty much without the book. So you’d think the class would go smoothly. Nnnnnnope. It’s a class of 16 students and for the past two week I’ve had two temporary students, which means 18 students. The girls are excellent. They pay attention and participate. The boys… are another story. Some of the boys pay attention and participation but almost all of them also misbehave. And in a class with 16 students, if two or three of them start misbehaving it can get hectic. Luckily it hasn’t gotten too bad but I’m tired of having to give them all F’s for their attention grade.

So today I tried something new. I gave them all assigned seats. I actually did this for a class last term and it didn’t solve all their behavior problems (because there were so many misbehaving boys that I couldn’t separate them) but it helped. In this class, it’s pretty much split down the middle between boys and girls so I had boys sitting next to girls and switching off, so boys were sitting in front of and behind girls. And although I also had two temporary students but I also had two students of the same sex missing so I didn’t have a problem with the seating chart.

The other thing that was different was I had a guest teacher. I wasn’t sure if he was observing me because he was a new teacher or he was going to critique me or something (it turns out he’s training to teach – so yay! he was observing me because… I’m a good teacher… yes?) but my first thought was “This class had better behave today.” And miraculously they did. It was so weird. They were on their best behavior. I think they were shell shocked from having to sit next to someone of the opposite sex. You know, because cooties are gross (… although I don’t think they have cooties here…). I told them that if they behaved this week and I didn’t have to keep them inline then next week they could sit where they wanted. And I was all set to end class telling them no assigned seats tomorrow but then… Critical Thinking Project…

By the third hour, things started to slowly go down hill. Once we started the Critical Thinking Project, the guest teacher actually left and the boys went back to their old ways. Goofing off, not focusing on the project. It caused enough problems that we were late starting the projects and there was almost not enough time to present one of them. Needless to say… assign seats next week! I turned in my daily report for this class and my counselor just sighed and said ‘But we separated them!’ I know, Jinny, I know. But it clearly wasn’t enough.

Now on to Eagle Reading! That’s my second Wednesday class. My students behave but… they are very quiet… I thought I was teaching the class wrong or something and I asked both my Reading HI’s to watch it and they basically said I’m doing a good job teaching it but my students are very quiet. Yes, yes they are. I actually subbed for another teachers IRE class. BIG differents. The students really do make or break a class…

Anyway, generally I can get them at least someone interested in class, maybe even really interested. Today we had a passage about the Death Penalty so we were talking about different crimes and what their punishments should be. When I was asking them for different crimes, something more severe than stealing but less severe than murder, I thought one of the students said ‘illegally cutting the cheese’. I had to try so hard not to laugh. I asked them if they knew what ‘cutting the cheese’ meant; they didn’t so I explained it meant farting/passing gas/ breaking wind etc. It turns out the student actually said ‘illegally cutting the trees’, which was a crime in the passage we were reading.

I wish he had said cutting the cheese. They wouldn’t let me put it on the board as a crime…