Sorry folks (all 3 of my readers). I've been getting behind in my posting again. I keep thinking of things to write about, but not when I'm around my computer.
Let me just talk about how I'm having to treat one of my classes like a bunch of little kids. Our school is a consolidated school and isn't in the middle of either town. Because of that, the drivers are not released at 3:00. Instead, they are held in classes until all the buses have gotten well away from the high school. This is probably due to the fact that teenagers are terrible drivers, especially when getting away from the place they dislike the most!
I have always felt that this 12 minutes or so was the kids' time and I just let them talk among themselves as long as it didn't get out of hand. Not this year! This year my 7th hour class has about 5 boys in it that are good friends. Their idea of being a good friend is to constantly harass, bully, put-down and make fun of each other. Which would be fine...if they weren't doing it in my class. It is hard enough to keep them from doing it during class time, but it was impossible once the bus riders had left the room.
I'm not sure why boys (and these are worse than any I've seen before) feel it is necessary to put each other down and make fun of each other all the time. There's a lot of "mama" jokes and calling each other names...all in the sake of fun. Add into the mix that these boys HATE English.They are country boys through and through and do not see any need for English class. "I speak good English, what do I need that class fer?"
Anyway...they were behaving terribly during this down time. After some consultations with the principal and vice principal, we decided the class should be kept busy, even though class was over.
I have chosen SSR (Sustained Silent Reading). During SSR time, there is absolutely NO TALKING! And no grade, so it's not like they are doing an extra assignment that the other students who ride a bus don't have to do. Boy do they HATE this. None of these kids are readers to begin with. I am even reading with them.
I gave them a week to get used to the idea with me shushing them and reminding them not to talk before I finally wrote two boys up (discipline referral) on Friday for talking (one was trying to ask me a question). SSR = NO TALKING! They are even more fired up about it now. But they were good today. They grumbled, but once I told them that we were starting and the anyone who talked would be written up, they all started reading (or at least pretending to read).
I've told them if they can go a reasonable length of time (I'm thinking 2 weeks), without causing troubles in class, I will consider doing something besides SSR at the end of the day. They have yet to be able to go a full day without someone talking smack to someone else.
Teachers just aren't paid enough. As it is I spend countless hours preparing lessons and grading papers, but it's discipline and classroom management issues like these that really show we're not paid enough. Just because your "little angel" is fine at home, doesn't mean that they act the same way when in a room with multiple hormone producing kids their age!