Wednesday, February 19, 1992

A new day, a new beginning. Or so I hoped. If only life duplicated art with a little more regularity! Hour 1 had Robert staring and sullen and the rest of the class going through the motions. I am supposed to threaten them, but somehow they lack more than just attitude, they lack the whole collection of skills that come together to make a student. We finished Chapter 2 and I handed them a worksheet. They have vocabularies that continue to astonish me words such as "reluctant, reproach, and tolerant" were unknown to them. I was a little surprised because it makes me quite aware of how much I took for granted. But they did begin to see some of the irony, even if they didn't like the fact that they were seeing. I guess we just plug along and spend time working on each paragraph.

Hour 2 finished the chapter as well, and began the worksheet. They were also on the uninterested side, but they were so busy arguing about Will's new hat that they had little time for me. (I found out that on Friday I will have both SWAS classes first hour and second hour free because I will surely need it.) They clearly have no idea about what's going on, though they were just told it. Do they pay so little attention that they forget within five minutes? Do they just have such poor school skills that they don't know how to please a teacher (it is quite possible that they couldn't care less about pleasing me either)? Well, I hope that tomorrow they will be a little more interested, though I have a real problem as several kids are completely done with the worksheets and several others haven't started either. How do I keep the completed comes from harassing the others? And they will too.

Hour 3 had 7 kids in it today--largest ever. Mrs. Korman was impressed, and I felt good as well. I told them I would take it as a compliment even if they didn't intend it as such. They read intelligently, though they needed quite a bit of goading, and they performed as I wanted them (I sound like a 1ion tamer!). But we got the main points, and even some of the minor points across, and they were with me. However, one of my good students, a bright, pretty and sharp girl told me today she was absent today because she was at the OB clinic at Truman East. Not hard to see why she wasn't in top form today. Is this relevant to a mother-to-be? That's as real as life gets, and she has already opted to close out a large number of her options. Mrs. Korman asked her if she knows how it happens--she was disgusted. I was just disappointed. Urban schools.

Hour 6 battled me again. They are starting to look to me for some answers (Channel 1 made its odious appearance today, and they asked about the primary), though they obviously wish Mr. Blank would return. I forgot to mention yesterday that I showed them a little game of linguistic knowledge. It is a game similar to hangman, except they guess 4 letter words rather than letters and any letters in the right place are saved. It is a neat game as they have to use both their vocabularies and their critical thinking skills (don't waste guesses on words using letters that have already shown to be incorrect). Anyway, they like this game. We tried to work on prepositions, and we got almost nowhere. They would not read for me when I asked them to read silently (though I have to admit I was not as well prepared as I would have liked to have been). So I read aloud, but they didn't care, just chaos and misery. However, salvation (! ! !???! ! !) looms.

Tonight in class we talked about rewards, and though I cannot believe it, she guarantees that these kids will work to earn something just as little kids will. I need a plan. And some help. But I know that I can do better than this. I am not maintaining order so how can I teach?

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