Wednesday started off as a perfectly nice day. The kids were doing their work. The ones who finished early went to another classroom to help the younger kids with their math. (The other teacher had specifically requested that morning that I send kids to help in her room so that her kids could be a little better prepared for the tests next week.) And then everything went crazy.
The math coach decided to pay a visit to my room for the first time in months. My kids were not happy about it. I know that part of it was that I let them know that while she was teaching, she was in charge. When she answered requests to go to the bathroom and other such things with "no," they then tried to come to me. I told them that once she said that they couldn't, they couldn't. They loved me for this. Near the end of the lesson, she "bribed" them for participation by saying that each child who participated could then ask her a personal question. The questions started off personally innocent -- "How old are you?" "Do you have kids?" Then they became disrespectful. "Why are you always digging in your booty?"
Around this time it became lunch time. The kids started yelling out that it was time to go to lunch. She let them know that as soon as everyone was seated and quiet that we could go to lunch. Five minutes later, they were still yelling and at least one child had taken to standing on her chair. I take that back. She had been standing on her chair various times during the lesson because we were playing the "Ignore her" game. At this point, the coach told me that I could go to lunch and she would take the kids to the cafeteria. It had to be at least five minutes later that the kids made it there.
Near the end of lunchtime, I returned to the classroom. There were books and papers over almost every inch of the floor. And someone had written, "This is bull crap," in ten-inch lettering on the white board. I knew that when they returned, the first thing they were going to have to do was clean-up. And this is when I started the deep breathing.
The other teacher returned to the room after lunch so that we could all discuss their behavior. She let me get the class to order since at this point they did not want to pay attention to her. I told them that I was sorry they were upset. However, the way that I saw it, they were living with the negative consequences of their actions. I was not going to take the blame for this because I did not make them make these bad choices as to their behavior. So the room got cleaned and we were able to continue with our oral presentations on the research project.
Yesterday morning I knew that I would have to speak to the kids once again on the matter as the same teacher would be returning to our classroom later in the day. I started off with, "Yesterday I felt disappointed and embarrassed, and I don't like to feel that way." We discussed how they are known as the worst behaved class at the school. Amongst those who have worked with them a great deal, they are also known as the smartest kids. I told them that for most people, they can't recognize how smart the kids are because all they can see is their bad behavior. I told them that these people probably didn't think they are as intelligent as they are because smart children would not repeatedly make so many bad choices.
In the course of our conversation yesterday morning, another issue came out of which I had not thought -- abandonment. Several stated, "She was mean and you just left us with her." *sigh*
The other teacher returned and things were much better. At lunch, I told her about the conversation I had had with the kids. She said that she is willing to continue to play bad cop to my good cop.
At least today is Friday.