I was overtired today. I have been having such a hard time sleeping since I moved down to Winthrop and started my job. To distract myself from loneliness and silence, I drown myself in work, meaning my brain is still spinning when I try to shut it off. Last night I tried reading before bed because when I was in grade school (k-12) that worked for me. It would distract me from life-problems enough that I could sleep have have pleasant dreams. Now, it just adds more to the docket for my over-active brain to ruminate on. Last night, because of all these complications, despite having snuggled in at around 11:30 pm, I didn’t fall asleep until around 2 am. My alarm goes off at 6 each morning. Four hours of sleep is not enough to keep mentally alert, let alone, sharp enough to keep up with intellectual activity and teenagers.
Luckily, none of this posed problems for me. I have great students who are very mature, even when the are not being respectful. I had one student come and speak to me because I sent him out of the room a few days ago because I had given him three warnings for defiance and rudeness. We talked, figured out what we could do to prevent the problem in the future, and we were all set after that. He still has a detention and he’s still in trouble with the office, but he understands why I took the actions I did.
I gave my two mythology classes a great quiz assignment recently: draw the myth we just read as a six-panel comic. The quizzes came out very well! The goal of the quiz was to have the students think critically about the text and pull out the central figures, the key events, and the prominent places. They did all that with great creativity and care. I am very proud of my classes.
I am a little frustrated, though. Not with students, or colleagues, but with access and organization of resources. Each LCD projector in the building is assigned a dongle (yes, that is the word for it) to make the Macs compatible with the LCD video cables. The one for my room’s projector is missing. I have been without an LCD projector since I started the job. And I cannot write on the board. This has made organizing and leading class discussions very difficult. I hope that this issue resolves itself soon.
I am also frustrated by a larger issue at the school; two as a matter of fact. There are some instances of students being homophobic and harassing some students suspected of being gay. The actions taken to ameliorate this issue are not effective. We are targeting and detaining students for specific instances of homophobia without addressing it as a whole. Granted, a school-wide crackdown on public statements is in order, but should not be done in isolation. I think a school assembly to discuss the issue, complete with guest speakers, is in order. But then, I am teaching in a very conservative Christian community. I overheard a student, in a semi-private conversation, tell another student that gays are sinning and are going to go to hell. And she knows all this because she was recently born again into a Christian faith. She also said that she thinks it’s BS that she has to monitor her comments about gays because people won’t stand up for what’s right. Yes, a student actually said this in my presence.
The second situation I am frustrated about is how the school is handling a more public event that has recently taken place at school. One of the teachers resigned for inappropriate relationships with students. This took place 8 weeks before I was hired. The first time the issue was broached in a staff meeting was the one on my first day teaching. It was very awkward.
(I hope that my vague descriptions of situations and respectful tone has helped make a “public” accounting of my experiences a little more palatable and professional.)