Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What It Is Like To Teach In HELL!

ISAT testing, so my first class is not meeting.  Yay, I get my very very dirty tables cleaned for the first time in weeks and I finally get some grading done.  There is even time to eat lunch today.

10:45, 5th grade arrives.

11:00 am,  The 5th grader who pulled the fire alarm 2 weeks ago and was only suspended for 5 days, sexually assaulted a girl during art.  Girl doesn't even understand that when boy grabs her breasts like that she is being violated.  Security called to escort them out.

11:25, the 5th grade class has broken all the new crayons and thrown them at one another, I call security to get some control back.

11:50, 3rd grader fight over calling out one anothers mamas, kids sent to office with referral.

12:00, fighting kids returned to art room after being told to be nice(great, that should help, rolling eyes).

12:15, 3rd grader throws up gang signs at me for telling him to sit in his assigned seat.

12:20, school goes on lockdown due to uninvited visitors(several neighborhood gangbangers somehow got into the building and were walking around on the 3rd floor unnoticed until a teacher sees them out his classroom door).

12:40, visitors escorted out and interviewed, arrested by police, (possibly for illegal possession of fire arms and what looked like drugs from the 3rd floor window according to 7th graders).

12:45, 7th grade arrives to swarm the windows to watch the police and discuss who these guys are.  25 minutes to get class into their seats.  They actually worked on their art for about 30 minutes(woohoo, success).

1:45, half of 8th grade arrives.  I teach my lesson on tessellations.  I feel success twice in a day(that never happens).  The other half the class shows up and starts swarming me for what to do.  I try to re-teach the lesson, but they are having none of it and have now distracted those I had working to start.

2:10, girl and boy start screaming at one another, almost fight, but I kick them out to the hall and am grateful that security is in the hall.  A student starts playing music on his phone and refuses to turn it off.  I try to get the phone, but no luck.  The others in class start breaking pencils and throwing them at one another.

2:30, I put on my coat, get my bag and sit in a chair by the door, ignoring everything happening in my classroom at this point because frankly, I cannot take anymore for the day.

2:45, I get the students out the door and I leave for home.  Can't wait to return tomorrow!


  1. I love you right now. I feel much less alone.

  2. Holy crap what kind of school is this?!?!?

  3. This sounds exactly like my first year of teaching. At my wits end ready to quit. I feel for you. I know how hard that can be. Ahh the joys of urban teaching (still in it 5 years later)..

  4. There is hope, I did this for three years, now I teach where students respect and appreciate me. Hang in there.

  5. I feel your pain - when I moved from a small, rural school in the Midwest to a large, low-income urban school in the Southwest I was in culture shock! Thankfully, I had a supportive principal and great role models in classroom teachers around me. I toughened up and rarely have issues 20 some years later in the same district. If you don't have supportive admin & teachers, start looking elsewhere.

  6. Oh my goodness! You sound like me a few years ago.... It got to the point where I was afraid for my safety, had been bitten, kicked and had furniture thrown at me. I cried everyday and was more of a security guard than an art teacher.... 23 years of that and I realized that I didn't even enjoy teaching anymore because I wasn't allowed to teach.... My 6th graders had parole officers that would sometimes escort them to art.... I finally got a chance to experience real teaching when I left for a part time job at a private school. I was poor but happy... Please be safe. Do you guys have metal detectors? What you are experiencing IS hell.... Please remember that it's not your fault! Hugs!

  7. I just read a bit more on your blog.... My heart aches for you and your students... I hope that today is a better day...

  8. Been there, done that. I get it. Bribery is everything. I have learned though, that the little things of bribery are amazing! This semester, I have "smelly hand" for my littles. I told them it's an invisible smelly sticker! And noone would know they had it, except them and those they told! I went and found every type of known yummy smelling chapstick I could find! Peppermint, chocolate, vanilla, cherry, green apple (one of their favorites because I call it jolly rancher), and this week I found some jumbo Dr. Pepper! I took the labels off and wrapped them in colorful duct tape. I don't ever let them "see" it. If one answers a question correctly, I simply walk over and say "put your hand on your head" and gently rub the "smelly hand" on their hand and keep walking. I don't make a big deal out of it at all. The other kids want to know what it is! They are excited and want it too! I will say, first table who can hear me and can put their hands on their heads gets smelly hand.... etc.... those who clean up quickest and come to the floor, or line up, or whatever, gets "smelly hand"! Sometimes, I give them a CHOICE of smelly hand!!! You can have chocolate or peppermint today! Which would you like!? Some kids have gotten smart and one friend will get one, and the other will get the other scent and then they rub their hands together (if that makes sense) so they have both! It WORKS! It's CRAZY! And then, I bought teeny tiny pocket radios with earphones from the dollar store. For the older kids, "first table who can show me they are ready to work after I give instructions will get to use the class radios". It only works on days without major instruction though, but they seem to like the choice of listening to what they want! (Or, they can use their own iphones or whatever). I also bought a carpet and a class set of clipboards. For a drawing project that isn't messy.... it's amazing what kids will do to go sit on the floor to draw. Or to take off their shoes in class.... it's the little things.... Or, just ask them! (if you can). To write on a poster what kind of reward they would like. Write some samples on the poster to start with (or give each one a post it note to write their idea down on). Tell them, whatever it is it has to be no money involved! Maybe it's ART Day! Art 'Round a Tree day (and they go outside to draw). My junior high art teacher let two of us sit in the supply closet at our "studio". Or we got to stay and help straighten something or get ready for the next class with the teacher. Just some thoughts. Usually, giving the reward where it isn't loud is best for me because all of a sudden the others are like "what just happened?" "Where did the yellow table get to go?" "What did they just get on their hands?" I hope and pray that your kids get it together, or that you find happiness at another campus which appreciates the arts and what you are attempting to do. This is NOT your fault!