Thursday, October 25, 2012

forming relationships

This week was off to a rough start and I was not having it.  In case you didn't know, I'm not a morning person.  I'm REALLY slow moving when I wake up, can't really form sentences the first hour  of the morning, and live for my morning routine. It doesn't help that my morning starts at 5:30, which is like the middle of the night. So, when my Monday morning is interrupted by, say, a MOUSE in my kitchen, you can imagine my mood.

Within an hour, Adrienne and I received an email saying that we'd be having a sub, which is just code for "you'll be having a crazy day." Sure enough, the kids were wild.  There wasn't enough work for the kids so they had over a half an hour to just cause trouble. The sub was really nice, but didn't quite understand that she needed to help out even though City Year was in the room.  Luckily, it was Monday and both Adrienne and I were there. By the time fourth block rolled around, though, I was exhausted and didn't have the energy to do any more behavior management, so I pulled my intervention students out for the entire class.  When I came back, the sub just smiled and laughed at how wild the class was. Apparently, Quinci went by and students were banging on desks and dancing around the room.  Sadly, I knew that was true. Speaking of Quinci,  the day ended on a sour note when he proceeded to talk down to both Adrienne and I.  Quinci has a hard time being wrong and likes to be the leader and in control.  Even though all three of us are Senior Corps members, he sometimes acts like he's above us because we're in classrooms like first year corps members.  I'm usually fine with it because I know that we're really all the same, but when he was treating us like that in front of the corps members, it was just the cherry on top of a already rough day.  The next day I was at the office, which is always a nice break from school.  I get to sleep in and can be a recluse in my office if I want.

When I returned to school on Wednesday, I was ready for the weekend. Tuesday wasn't a bad day, but it definitely wasn't anything exciting or energizing.  It was an A day which means an extra class and rowdier kids and Adrienne was at the office.  Luckily, the morning went extremely well.  My third block class was nearly perfect. The few times I had to redirect them, they actually listened and followed directions. It was amazing! I wanted to jump with joy!

During fourth block, things got really interesting.  I pulled my focus list student out and we were working in the City Year room.  I was asking her about her family and who she lives with. She lives with her grandmother and two of her sisters. When she told me how many brothers and sisters she had total, I didn't believe her. She proceeded to name all FIFTEEN of her siblings between her dad and her two step dads.  All of a sudden, I completely understood why she was so loud and spoke out in class. She just wants to be heard.  As if that wasn't interesting enough, the  conversation continued. It was pretty quiet as she wrote definitions when all of a sudden, she said "I don't want to go to first block tomorrow."  As she continued, I learned that another girl was trying to pick fights with her and she was worried that a fight might happen in first block (apparently the teacher doesn't have control of the class).  While it may seem like normal high school drama, it meant a lot to me.  It was a sign that she trusts me, at least with some things.  She trusted that if she disclosed to me, I would listen.  It was a huge, monumental step in the right direction for this year and exactly what I needed this week.

Today was almost as exciting!  Let's rewind though, to last week.  During first block, I mentioned to one of my students that I would be pulling her from class sometimes to help her with reading and stuff.  I tried not to make it a big deal, but she apparently was really nervous.  She wrote me a note asking why she was going to be pulled out when she was good at reading.  She was worried that she would be seen as "slow" and judged by her peers.  I was really worried about the day when I had to pull her out.  I wrote her a note back reassuring her that it wouldn't be bad and we would probably even have some fun.  Jasmine (another corps member who has her in class) delivered it to her in her class, which I think helped.  Today, when I pulled her out, she was a little nervous, but didn't argue at all and even seemed kind of happy to be leaving class (I don't blame her, it's boring).  When we got to the City Year office, I asked her what middle school she went to and found out that SHE'S FROM VIRGINIA BEACH!! So exciting! She went to Bayside Middle and moved here this summer when her parents "were having issues" (I don't know what that means and didn't want to push it).  We ended up talking for a half an hour before even doing work, which I think made her feel so much better about the whole pull out deal.  She even laughed at one point saying how off topic we were.  Hopefully, today helped ease her pain and make her feel more comfortable about the whole thing.

Between the past two days of interventions, I feel like I've made a lot of progress in forming relationships with certain students.  Being in a high school has been a lot tougher than I predicted.   Being with a teacher who's not the greatest has made my days stressful and not as enjoyable as I think possible. I also really miss the younger students and their energy and enthusiasm for learning. These past two days have re-engergized me and made me excited for my interventions. I hope that more students feel comfortable enough to trust me.

"To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved."
-George MacDonald