Thursday, October 03, 2002

the yard

Today was humbling (as is every day). I called in sick yesterday thanks to my sweet brother's insistence, slept for 15 hours, no shit, did some school-like stuff, and then went out to a comedy show last night for a few hours. I felt like a human being again, or at least that I was playing one on TV. So this morning it was back to PS in yo face, and what a difficult walk it was. I said "grrrrrr" as I entered my room, thinking, "What did they trash?" After a minute or two my eyes found their way to my board, which read: "Ms. Haley, we talked a lot, but weren't that bad. We miss you and hope that you're okay," signed 5 of my girls. Lashonda, my bad ass tough mama, who I love, wrote me that she loves me and misses me. What? And then tart Destini wrote that she followed my homework direction accordingly to sign each child out a library book. (no boys expressed no love, you know, but they feel it, right).

Well, anyway, that gave a jump start to my day. Downstairs in the yard it was a show. Every teacher in the place was on hand. We were told to keep our children there until they got it right. If they couldn't walk up right, we were to walk them back down. My class was the last to go up. We made it to floor two, and then headed back down. We made it to floor three, and then Ms. Garvey told us to go back down for one girl at the end of the line, leaning on the wall, and not in line. We went all the way back down to the yard, and slowly crept our way to the top of the building on the far end. (This was an hour after school starting time, no lie).

So the morning started off with children sitting in my chairs, but after an hour or so their unstoppable will crept back in and I was fighting them yet again. Not sure what to do, I asserted my authority by calling them out one by one in the hall (which never works, but today it did a little good). By noon, their heads were down with the lights off. They hadn't gotten the message, were talking all over the place, ignoring their classwork and me.

One of the APs gave me a long talk after school, saying that they see me as this mild mannered, petite woman. She told me to lower my voice and put on a show. To take vitamins and go in with as much energy as I can muster. Rough em up. Tear em down. Break em. Let them know I'm in charge.

I'm questioning all that because I've tried a million things. I'm not consistent with my persona everyday, which likely hurts me. Sometimes I'm more demanding. Sometimes they're so freaking crazy that I try to ignore their shit. Sometimes I'm zapped. I keep wanting to defend myself to me. Ms. C, who's telling me all this, told another teacher that she'd spent most of her day in my class and was wiped out. I spend every day there. But maybe it's such a chore, or more of one, because I'm not whipping them into shape.

Well, my principal told me this morning that it's my classroom, not theirs, and to do whatever it takes . . . "Whatever it takes." Any clue as to what she's talking about?

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