Little Shop of Horrors, a.k.a. An Atypical Day of Teaching

This is an excerpt from a book I wrote. What I was taught in my methods classes and I what I experienced in the classroom sometimes wasn’t even close. I can laugh now, but at the time, some of this was no laughing matter. Today’s teacher candidates must be told the whole truth and nothing but the truth as they pursue a career in teaching. It is not glamorous; especially the way Hollywood depicts it. Enjoy!

ImageThe day started out pretty well; then I left the house to go to work. It was downhill after that. Ding! The bell just rang and the kids are coming in. A little horseplay amongst students is not normally a problem; today it is. “Hang your stuff up guys, and get ready for the morning exercise.” Apparently my English is faulty, because I have to repeat this directive, only more firmly.

We finally settle down, though now there seems to be a dispute over who is going to take the lunch count down. I’m being accused of favoritism, even though I took time (precious time I might add) to ensure everyone gets a turn. Let’s review the schedule, class. After some bruised feelings, we are back on track…I think.

I send the lunch count down by the students listed on the rotation. It seems the messengers got lost on the way back. Now I have to incorporate using an egg timer to ensure students come directly back to the room, in addition to promising to remove them from the rotation if this wandering phenomenon occurs again.

It seems the Brothers Grimm are feeling particularly feisty this morning; they are being completely annoying to a couple of students. This in turn annoys me. I first ask what is going on. You always give the offenders a chance to confess, recant, or come clean with their wrongdoing. Not these two. They’ve done no wrong. Here we go.

I have to issue a verbal warning. If the misbehavior continues, I am prepared to take it to the next level. Apparently, they are equally prepared, because now we “go there.” I am a little less polite, though ever so firm, and call for backup. Mr. Male Teacher, next door to me, has had a great deal more experience dealing with the brothers Grimm and Momma Grimm. Thankfully, he’s helped me out, and given me suggestions for heading off future uprisings. In the meantime, class time has just been eaten off the clock by little Pac Man characters masquerading as students.

When I was kid, we did not talk back to adults. You were risking life, limb, and your best teeth. Not this crew; they don’t mind trying to engage you in a verbal battle. That takes up too much class time, but sending them down to the office is a no-no.

If you cannot adequately manage your classroom, someone else will, and you are in the soup line. I’m glad I got some help, but now my lesson is waylaid, and I have to reel my class back in, whom of course, wants to engage in all manner of discourse about our recent mutiny on the bounty. “Oh no you don’t; we’re getting back to this lesson.” I salvage my remaining time.

Somebody should have told me there could be days like this. Somebody, anybody. I was hoodwinked. All of my neat little lesson plans went right out of the window and this was just the start of my school day. Did you have days like this? I would really like to hear about them, and maybe share if you like.Tune in for the remainder of my day.


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