My son and I are leaving our small town in southeastern United States to live for a year in a small town in southeastern France. It couldn't possibly be THAT different, right?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


This post is for my public-school friends in the U.S.  who have always teased me about my cushy private-school job with my small classes and well-behaved students.  Well, guys, I am really earning my teaching badge this year---and possibly my place in Heaven one day.
My largest class has twenty-seven students, and the smallest has twenty-one.  Their bodies take up almost all of the physical space in the room so that I am never more than about one foot away from any one of them.
My students range in age from eleven to fifteen and have a wide range of abilities as well.  There are learning disabilities of which I am just becoming aware and a few psychological issues that have become obvious as well.
Four of my six classes are doing pretty much what I expect of them, but I have two classes that kick my derrière and hand it to me on a platter on a daily basis.  I spend at least half of the class addressing disciplinary issues.  I am not allowed to remove anyone from the room so I have to address the problems immediately within my own four walls.
I have tried it all.  I have seating charts.  I write names on the board and then write notes home to parents.  I have assigned detention, and I have made students copy a long poem in English.
For the occasional offender, these methods work, but for the hard-core professionals, nothing so far has worked.  They continue to talk while I talk, throw bits of paper, make rude noises with their mouths, knock on the underside of their desks, elbow each other, use bad language, steal each other's pencils, knock each other's books off of their desks, ask idiotic questions to make everyone laugh, etc.
Jed loves hearing my stories when I come home from school every day.  He says that it sounds like the bad kids that you see in the movies, and he just giggles and giggles.  I end up laughing too, fortunately.
I think that I will wear the kids down before they wear me down if I can keep my sense of humor.  Surely, they will get tired of detention!  Won't they?      
The view on the way to work keeps me smiling.

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