...But They'll Never Take My Freedom!

| Friday, May 21
**Warning: Profanity-Laced Post Ahead** 

Today was the last day with students. I have been in classrooms for seven years and teaching full-time for five. As you probably know, I really do love my job. It's where I'm meant to me. I have a passion for kids - guiding them, caring for them imparting my knowledge to them. But this year has been the worst school year ever! It's like the Herdmans infiltrated the minds of the frakking sixth grade this year and tried to make our lives a living hell. Seriously, I've never taught a worse group.

These kids took, took, took, and never gave a shit. I went through more school supplies than ever before, and I teach in a fairly good middle-class community.  I started out the year with 600+ pencils and ended the year with 10. I don't even want to know what the kids were doing with them. How irresponsible can you be? They smeared glue sticks on my floor and desk. They stole books from my classroom (and from other teachers' as well) and were found "left" all over the school. One was even found soaking wet on the floor of the boys' restroom. No telling...

They were apathetic. They didn't care about their learning. I've always been able to encourage students to take ownership of their learning and make it relevant to "real life," but this group would have none of it. Very few students even showed a glimmer of personality. My honors class, which is usually a highly-motivated, enthusiastic, creative bunch of kids were mostly bumps on a log with their noses stuck in books. I couldn't even get them involved in activities this year.

Needless to say, after a few months of apathy and disrespect (for people and property), I lost most of my motivation to be a "good" teacher. I still cared about the students, but I was starting to care less and less about what I was teaching them. Yes, please, write me a three-paragraph essay that tells me how to do or make something. Seriously, district? This is your idea of a GOOD writing assignment? i was just lucky that the second half of the year meant teaching how to use non-fiction resources, how to do research, a simple novel study, state testing review, and a couple of big, time-consuming projects. I didn't have to put forth much effort. When the students don't appreciate the effort put into the lesson, I'm less likely to make an effort.

There were some super sweet students in this group who got overlooked because of all of the ass-hats that spent most of their time in detention or suspended. I've never had this many students with bad discipline records, ever! And I had a student who almost went to juvenile a few years back! Back to those few good ones. They're the ones who I still tried to reach, but their classmates made it damn near impossible. They're the ones who I actually took the time to sign their yearbooks this week. They're the ones who came by to give me hugs today. They're the ones I hope actually come back to visit me once they're older. They're the handful I'm going to miss.

That all being said, they did not kill me this year. I have survived. I will no longer teach these students again. If they ever darken my doorway in the future, it will be simply to visit, not as a student. As of 12:00 pm EDT today, the students of Hellclass 2010 are on summer break, and that means I, too, am free! Sure, I have to return for a few days of teacher work next week, but those days are easy. I'm not focusing on that, I'm focusing on my 12 sweet weeks of freedom.

You'll probably be seeing me way too much for my own good online now! But it will definitely be fun. And less stressful.


Angela said...

I am so sorry, Kara. I have no idea what being in school is like, since I was home-schooled, but growing up I always thought being a teacher would be an interesting and fun job. I can only imagine how hard it'd be to teach kids like that. :(

However, YAY that you'll be online more!!! I've really been slacking on my comments, though hopefully I can get back into the swing of responding to (almost) all of the blog posts you and all the other awesome bloggers I follow make!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I'm sorry this group of students was like that; I admire you for working with them this year because I don't think I would have been able to do it. I've only ever taught high school and college students. Even though they're older, many of them still don't take school seriously, which can be very frustrating.

Stevil Knievel said...

We need to get together and just vent out all our bad-seed frustrations and the guilty conscience stuff that runs through our heads regarding crushing children under buildings.

Stephany said...

I did some student teaching before I changed my major and I was lucky enough to have three classes of students who were just awesome. I sucked at the teaching, but loved the students so much.

So I feel awful that you had such a bad group. And it sucks that the bad ones overshadowed those few good ones that make it all worth it. But at least it's over and it's taught you a lot. And now you can focus on getting some rest and relaxation time...and hopefully having a great group next year!

The Ashes said...

Hi Kara, just wanted to let you know that I have my bloggerstock post written. I've published it on my blog for now, but it's back dated so my readers (probably) won't get to it early. Here's the link. http://www.justtheashes.com/2008/05/bloggerstock-what-is-your-theme-song.html so you can schedule it for 5/31

Emily Jane said...

I'm sharing this post with my fiance. I can tell by the end of the year he is feeling very much the same things about his students. But YAY for it being over!! Here's to a relaxing summer!

Eleni said...

That's rough. My mom's a grade school teacher, and I know that some years can be much worse than others, whether it's because of an unlucky distribution of kids (you get all the bad ones) or it's just a bad year (I know my class in middle school and high school had a bad reputation). But you got through it. Freedom! Congrats.

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