Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Time Grabs You By the Wrist

It's the end of the quarter, which was always a stressful time even before I had that second child plus a full-time teaching load. The kids start to get panicky about their grades, and then they start to say things in an accusatory tone. Things like:

"But you never SAID we needed a works cited!"

"But my printer ran out of INK!"


"My thesis IS fully expanded!"

And then they turn around and start to mumble things about me. Things that, in my imagination, are not very polite. In order to deal with these interactions professionally and with patience, I've adopted a few strategies.

One of them is I say Hail Marys over and over again in my head. And then I throw in a Glory Be and a couple of St. Francis of Assisi prayers. "SPREAD JOY," I remind myself before beginning class. "SOW LOVE."

This can be really hard, especially when they say things like, "Who's Duena Alfonsa?" when Duena Alfonsa is a main character in the novel, and we're already on page 217.

My other strategy is to repeat the mantra, "Grace and courtesy, grace and courtesy, grace and courtesy." I got it from a book about The Montessori Way. It's important to explicitly teach those things, the book says. And I'm trying to be a model.

It's hard to do when they say things like, "I don't even know why we're analyzing McCarthy because he obviously doesn't know how to write."

But I want you to know I'm trying really, really hard.


AmyRobynne said...

As the daughter and wife of a teacher, I applaud your efforts to make the end of the quarter pleasant and bearable for everyone.

Dan's approach is to stay up all night grading.

Martha Pettee said...

I LOVE this post. It is so TRUE. In my short stint teaching I had a student blurt out, "Who is Gertrude?" in the last act of Hamlet. I then proceeded to draw a family tree on the board with the characters as stick figures. Geez.

Also, I am copying all your strategies for behavior at my job. Grace and courtesy, grace and courtesy. Beautiful. Call me when you can. If you want me to take the kids on an adventure, I am tooling out to Mary's either tonight or tomorrow with a present for Meghan. It's her birthday today. xoxoxo

Beth said...

So true, KC, so true! You really are great for your students. I need to stop being such a downer about my job!!!!!! It's been fun talking to you everyday! I'm looking forward to Running Club!