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friday, february 4, 2005

it was another long day at work and resulted in 4 referrals. i'm beginning to feel like the referral queen or something. i suppose i could just let the kids do whatever, but that just doesn't seem right in my mind. i'm there to make sure they do their work, not fly across the room in any fashion they choose. and in my experience, it just seems to work better to not allow talking for the most part. when you allow "quiet" talking, it usually quickly gets out of hand and gets very loud. so i'm a no talking sub who makes the kids do their work. which means, teachers generally seem to like me (the response has all been fairly positive - i even had a teacher come up to me and thank me for subbing for her class and leaving such detailed notes), but kids usually don't like me much. that's not a major problem, i'm not there to be their friend, i'm there to make sure they do their work. and usually the attitudes that come with the not liking me as a sub don't bother me, but at the high school level, that dislike seems to take on a whole different perspective.

let me back up a minute here.

i've always had a problem with two things: authority figures and what i'll call tough kids. i was taught to listen to authority figures as a kid - which is a good thing, but they've always made me nervous. i mean really nervous. there's always that sense of "did i do something wrong?" and a need for approval. while it's not nearly as bad as when i was a kid, those feelings are still there. for example, when the teacher i had to co-teach with for the last period yesterday and today took down my name, i had to ask the woman who called me in to sub if she had mentioned that i'd done something wrong. really, when the woman had asked for my name, i felt suddenly like i was a high school student again! it was very odd, and i could kick myself for feeling that way. i'm getting a bit old for this, you know. most these people i should be able to interact with on the same level, and i try to but i always feel like a fraud.

the tough kids were the kids i generally avoided as a child. i didn't get into fights as a kid, and in fact did everything i could to avoid them. a sort of duck and run reflex. okay, yea, i was a chicken shit, i admit it. problem is, i still am.

so, here i am, not too sure of my own authority, in possession of a fairly strong duck and run complex, and dealing with high school kids. i think you can see the problem here. oh, i can rest in the reassurance that i'm the adult in the room, the school has given me the authority to run the classroom, but when those kids start up, it's just hard for me to deal with. the 4 referrals i wrote today were written after the kids were off to their next class and i had spoken to an administrator about the situation. essentially, these kids challenged my right to run the classroom on the way i needed/wanted. and the minute you let one kid do that and win, it's all over with the remaining kids.

now there are certain things i understand about kids. one, you will have to remind them not to talk every so often. they can't just not talk. i don't mind that. they are trying to find their own place in the world and are constantly pushing the limits. i don't mind that either. it's when i've said enough is enough and they're still pushing that i have a problem. with younger kids and middle schoolers, generally the enough is enough point puts them back where they need to be. with high schoolers, kids on the verge of adulthood and who are trying to find their own measure of self-determination, that line is very often one that demands to be crossed. and for a lot of them, when they do that, they become the tough kid to me and i have to fight that duck and run reflex.

obviously, teaching high school is not the best place for me. but now i'm questioning if i should even sub at the high school level. i honestly don't know how to deal with this. i feel like i'm this stupid little scaredy cat scurrying to and from the classroom and there's just something wrong with that picture.

for all that i seem like a strong person to so many people, i'm not, not really. people who know me may read this and go, "not domy! she's always so sure of herself!" well, they aren't my superiors and they aren't kids i'm teaching, so they don't evoke the same emotional response. heck, even if they were, most of them wouldn't have the attitudes of these kids and so not bring out that duck and run reflex anyway.

i've really got to deal with this problem. i can't turn any school down because we need the money - that's why i worked this week even though i've been sick. i suppose the good news is that i don't called by high schools too often. but when i do, i really need to be able to deal with these feelings and remain in authority because kids can smell the blood in the water when an adult starts losing their cool. i just don't know how, and i'm not too sure i ever will. but i know that sense of uncertainty doesn't help with the kids and probably isn't such a good thing for the other teachers and administrators to see.

somewhere, somehow, i have to take that confidence (if it could be called that) that i have just about everywhere else in my life and bring it into my teaching experience. i just have no idea how to do that.

word of the moment: soul

the immaterial essence or substance, animating principle, or actuating cause of life or of the individual life; the psychical or spiritual principle in general shared by or embodied in individual human beings or all beings having a rational and spiritual nature; the psychical or spiritual nature of the universe related to the physical world as the human soul to the human body; the immortal part of man having permanent individual existence; a person's total self in its living unity and wholeness; a seat of real life, vitality, or action; an animating or essential part; a vital principle actuating something; man's moral and emotional nature as distinguished from his mind or intellect; the quality of expression that effectively presents or arouses emotion and sentiment; a manifestation (as affection, generosity, charity, sympathy) of the moral nature; spiritual or moral force; human being; one having a good or noble quality in the highest degree

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