This is me. I am smiling. Every day I go to work excited about imparting some knowledge to my students. I plan lessons that concentrate on getting my students actively involved in their own learning. Today, I was excited to talk about dehumanization in Night by Elie Wiesel.
Class, can everyone take your seats. The bell has rung. Please get out your books.
Seemingly, the expectation would be for the students to take their seats and to take out their books, right?
This is what happened:
Student 1: Can I use the bathroom? I really gotta pee.
Student 2: I forgot my book in my locker. Can you write me a pass to my locker.
Student 3: I have that paper that was due last Friday on a flash drive. My printer doesn’t work, can you print it for me?
Student 4: Like, I know we are supposed to be on like chapter 4. But why does he have a girl’s name?
Student 5: Did we have homework last night?
Student 6: I need a pass to my locker, I grabbed my math notebook by mistake.
Student 7: I think I left the book in my study hall. Can I go look?
Student 8: What’s this book even about?
Student 9: How many days until Christmas?
Student 10: My mom told me she thinks I’m smart. She doesn’t think my 42% average in this class really captures me for who I am.
Student 11: How does my hair look?
Student 12: Can I go the bathroom?
Student 13: I was absent yesterday, what did I miss?
Student 14: I don’t like reading. Can we just watch a movie?
Student 15: Yeah, can we watch a movie? Avengers is out on DVD.
Some students did as I asked. As for the rest, it was no use. I could not fight the inexplicable cataclysm of classroom management. These children had needs, wants, thoughts that had to get out. Elie Wiesel mentions the patience of Job– oh how I needed it today!
I corrected grammar (The proper way to ask for permission is may not can, and each child was forced to ask properly before I would write them a pass), ignored the nonsensical comments, and breathed in and out.
Maybe this is purgatory. If it is, I think I did a nice job of offering it up to God. Surely, a day of undiluted patience gets me closer to the pearly gates, right?