It’s been a particularly shitty week in all sorts of ways. Everything decided to bite me in the butt all at once: grad school, work, the bank account, the blood coming out of my dog’s ass. Things were looking bad in all sorts of ways.
Either my kids were especially wiry this week, or my patience was just much lower than usual, but I found myself faced with all sorts of problems: throwing stuff each other, talking over me, just your general off-task just-try-and–teach-me attitudes.
In one particularly difficult class, I did what every professor and textbook had warned me never to do: I punished the whole class for a few students’ misdeeds.
After weeks of consistent disrespect and a generally unproductive classroom, I made a deal with the kids that they could avoid a seating chart by getting all of the day’s work done. Of course, most students completed the assignment while four or five others decided their time could be better spent throwing candy and pennies across the room at each other, laughing at me whenever I turned around just in time to not see exactly who threw it.
Sick of dealing with teenager crap, I just threw them all in a seating chart in a last ditch effort to show them what’s what. Of course, everyone immediately recognized the admitted injustice of it all. A couple students had to be written up for their reactions, and the others look pretty disgusted with me, too, complaining that they “can’t learn in this class anymore” and that they’re “done trying to be my friend.”
I know it’s not my job to be their friend. Their learning something in the class absolutely gets to sit shotgun while being chummy sits in the backseat, but I also see it as equally problematic when everyone in the classroom seems to sincerely hate me. I’m completely at a loss as to what I should do other than take in the weekend and reflect on what an idiot I can be.