Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bits of frustration...

(From an IRC chat log)

[faerunner] [jen] Faerunner, one of the things about kids; they hate being treated like children.
[faerunner] I know, I was one ;p
[faerunner] I try not to but it's hard in a classroom - you can't expect them to know everything or even control themselves quite as well so you sometimes HAVE to direct them like they're still toddlers
[faerunner] especially with this group - if they were more capable of independent action I'd not mind so much but they are like puppies still when I try to get them to work on things without me - all of them need individual attention and they all need it NOW
[faerunner] It's frustrating to me
[faerunner] I can't be 25 places at once
[faerunner] and I can't explain to all of them because once you lose their attention, unless they ask you for something, they won't listen at all.
[jen] There are always ways and means. Dangle a carrot and when you have and they reach for it, hit them with clean cold logic
[jen] If they are that attention hungry, I wonder how much they get from their parents.*
[faerunner] It's a poor area - parents might care but not have time for the kids (lots of them work full time and a few are 40+ hours a week for sure)
[faerunner] And I know at least two are from broken families, a few more are just emotionally immature for various reasons (asperger's, general lack of social skills, apathy)
[faerunner] And Jen, I can't dangle carrots because no one carrot applies to the whole class, and I have no time nor energy these days for individualizing 'carrots' for every kid, even if I had the skill and experience to do so
[faerunner] I'm still learning, remember
[faerunner] :p
[ss] You... enjoy working with kids? :<
[faerunner] I mean, I'm sure I could say "oh hey, you can't have recess today if you don't do your work" but that only works so many times
[faerunner] and "I'll give you candy" doesn't work because I don't have any
[faerunner] :p
[faerunner] Ss: Yes, on some level
[ss] Sounds like a total nightmare. :O
[faerunner] I'm just constantly running up against walls put up by bureaucracy.
Or by parents.
And it's like... I would LOVE to teach what the kids want to learn, when they want to learn it, and show everyone just how awesome learning can be, but the curriculum says this and the administrators say that and the school year is too short for that other thing...
[faerunner] :/
[faerunner] I like the -idea- of teaching and learning. The reality sucks most days.
* Jen needs to write the syllabi and incorporate "responsible decision making with a focus on having children or not"
[ss] Hmm. I understand what you're saying, to a certain extent.
[ss] Makes sense.
[faerunner] There is a serious need for education reform in this world
[faerunner] No one seems to have gotten it right.
* Faerunner shrugs and goes back to editing her lesson plans for tomorrow so the substitute can be expected to make himself useful
[jen] Doing it on a personal basis is not going to work, for there are many that can follow the script but few whom have the initiative or drive to write them, market and stand by them.
[ss] >_<
[faerunner] I seem to have turned this channel into an ongoing commentary on the quality of American education. I apologize ;p
[faerunner] I should be cranky in my blog instead

Somehow despite all of my "experience" with kids I still can't organize 11-year-olds well enough to get them through a 40-minute lesson in less than an hour. Is it just this class, this age group, or is it me?


  1. I would say it's the age group. I remember I had the attention span of a lightning bolt.

  2. Thanks, that's reassuring :p

    I'm with a new group in January for a fresh start and a whole semester instead of half this time... maybe third grade will be "better".