Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On Tenth and Eighth Grade...

I don't think anyone can ever know how difficult tenth and eighth graders are until they've had a room of twenty of them. 

Tenth grade baggage has become easier for me.  Both my years teaching Spanish, I've adored my Spanish 1 class at this time of the year.  We've figured each other out.  We've found our groove and even if they don't like me, they know that they should at least, pretend to laugh at my jokes. 

Sometimes, they just want to show us they're not kids, and they forget and are rude.  And, we kindly remind them.  "That was rude."  And go on our way.

Eighth grade is a bit more difficult.  They want to be grown-ups.  They are annoyed that you don't let them just do what they want.  But - if you pick your battles, they get through it.  If you let the eye roll go, and give them a bit of space, most of them come back to being who they really are - that sweet, vulnerable kid who wants to do well in the world -

I remember one mom calling me and telling me that her daughter was "going through a rough patch" and "not to take things so personally," oh and "she just needs some understanding."

When I ended the conversation, I told her kindly; "I get that, but I will remind her of when she's being rude."

Some classes are a bit more difficult than others - and once in while, you get a group, like my eldest daughter's class - who starts in seventh grade.  Kids who want so much attention they are constantly being sent to the Principal's office.  A group of kids who generally believe what they have to say is far more important than Algebra, Onomatopoeia, or the constituion.

We just have to grit our teeth and pick our battles.  Most of the time, we just have to wait it out and say "I think you shouldn't say that."  And eventually, they get it.

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