Bowie serves breakfast every morning. Students and staff have a choice between cereal and the meal of the day, or bringing in your own food. One day I opted for cereal, eager to chow down on a childhood favorite. Lo and behold! Inhaling while chomping down on a spoonful of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a bad idea. No wonder I stopped eating that crap.
And there’s nothing like coughing on cereal in front of students.
The intense learning process has continued with no signs of slowing. Some days I feel like I’m making great progress. Other days feel like they’re fighting every little bit of structure I enforce on them. It’s expected, though, and I’m steadily blending with the flow, instead of getting taken by surprise by their resistance.
This teaching gig has been taking me back to my own teenage days, bringing back memories I thought long lost and others that’d be merciful to never recall again.
It’s tough being a teenager. I’m being re-exposed to the drama, the immaturity, the identity crises, the struggle to motivate oneself to show up at school, the battle against authority and teenagers believing all adults are stupid, etc. It all adds up to be about 10% amusing and 90% real.
I’ve had to deal with tears, breakdowns, obstinance, avert a fight before one student could throw the first punch, play peacemaker, surrogate mother, and berate kids for sending a gecko out the window on a paper airplane. (“But he made it!” does not justify starting up Bowie Lizard Airlines.)
On the upside, I’m seeing little breakthroughs here and there. I’m slowly earning their trust as I expect more and more out of them. I have one middle schooler in my gym class that gets rough and disrespectful real fast but this past week he caught my attention and pointed to my back. When I stopped moving, he removed a piece of tape off my shirt for me… How thoughtful!
… and slaps it on the the base of the bleachers.
I am in need of advice on how to get students to focus, especially ones that aren’t used to regular classroom exercises and having to study. For example, I had them make flashcards to practice the first 25 questions of the naturalization test. We go through them once per class as a group for review. The less knowledgeable ones just sit there in bored indifference while the more knowledgeable ones spit out answers once they run out of patience waiting for someone else to answer.
I know you can only lead a horse to water, but I’d prefer to wake them up now, instead of with dishing out failing grades.