Wednesday, October 19, 2011

They're Just Kids

My job=incredibly volatile. Good days bad days, days that I have no idea what to call them.

Today. Drive home. Time to decompress, but not really enough time. I'm too serious to shake off a bad day on a thirty minute drive.

I'm too strict. I'm not strict enough.

They walk all over us. They don't respect us. We don't draw the line enough. because there are too many things to keep track of: can I go to the bathroom, can I get a drink, can I get something out of my backpack. I don't want to sit down. I don't want to do my homework, or this project, or anything. I hate school. I hate everything. Slamming chairs, slamming fists into cabinets, biting other children. No, we aren't in the Dominican anymore, we're in the United States where children bite each other in the second and third grade to get what they want.

I'm not sure if this is the job for me. I'm not really teaching. I'm doing behavior management, and I'm not even doing it that well. Maybe because I'm not trained for any of this. I'm not sure if I want to have a job longterm where I have to tell people not to touch each other.

Add on all the expectations of the school that I don't know about. Things that no one told me. I'm supposed to be out of the room at a certain time? Do they even know I'm new? Why isn't there an information packet on this? I want to do my job, but someone has to tell me what that is, preferably before I mess up.

And for behavior, what am I supposed to do? What do I tell a kid to do when he gets angry instead of lashing out at whoever's closest? Count to ten? And I'm still disappointed in them when they don't listen to me, but I can't make them. I can't make them do what I want them to do. They have to choose it themselves. And that's kind of the frustration and the freedom of it. It's not up to me if they adopt the behaviors I suggest to them. It's up to them. It would greatly benefit me, and I'm going to keep telling them to listen the first time, keep their hands to themselves, raise their hand before they talk, tell the truth, use words, and I'm going to keep punishing them when they cross lines, but sometimes it feels so futile. I believe in them and I want them to change and develop these behaviors, but they have to want it too. I believe in them, so I am overly disappointed when they don't listen to me. I shouldn't let it affect me so much.

Maybe I'm not communicating my expectations. Maybe I'm not being consistent. There are just so many things to keep track of and someone always needs something. Also, I'm not that uptight. I want them to have a good time and enjoy what they're doing, but we have to put up the rules at the beginning because it's really doing us a favor longterm.

I discipline other people's children. I went to a Bible study today, and the children's teacher got up there and said how much love was in their classroom and how they were teaching Bible truths and singing hymns and the classroom was such a great place and they were giving love to all the kids who came. And I wondered about what would happen if I invited one of my kid's moms to the class. Would that child would be loved so well in the children's class? It's easy to love well-behaved children. Good little Christian children who have two parents with steady jobs. They want to spend time with their kids and don't swear at them. It's harder to love kids with bad attitudes who lash out at you when you ask them to do something. They get angry seemingly for no reason. Everything is life and death with some kids.

I don't feel in control, and I don't know how to get there. I am the adult, but I am at their mercy. This is not how it should be.

I don't have training for this. But if I'm not supposed to be here, then where am I supposed to be? If I'm not an elementary teacher, am I some other kind of teacher? Crisis of meaning in the world... time for dinner. Tomorrow will probably be better.

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