Yes…I’m talking to myself again. The last two weeks weren’t easy. I’m still stopping, and waiting, for some groups. Ok….all of the 6th grade classes.
The 8th graders have gotten on board….there is a warmth to the room when we are together that is palpable. They smile. They share. They even try to show off their Spanish. Not everyone, but enough that it feels like we are in this together. It helps so much that a) I’ve had a week longer with them and b) they have had Spanish classes prior to this year and our work is connecting to those memories and class expectations.
The 6th graders are new to a language class. This has been their first and only experience. They had 12 weeks of one set of rules/expectations and mine are clearly different. I am asking for their attention, for their comprehension AND their positive, respectful, creative responses.
They are not used to that. They are not confident that they can deliver what I am asking for. And, let’s face it, it’s easier to chat with friends and not be prepared than to do what I am asking them to do.
They ARE making progress in the language. They really are. But they still have trouble staying focused, and not talking with each other, for more than 3 minutes at a time. And this, of course, drives me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!
By the time Friday was over I was really frustrated. It had been a crazy week…like the week before vacation…two concerts, numbers of kids absent, a crazy schedule…ugly sweater day etc. Only it wasn’t the week before vacation…we still have school this week. I was having so much trouble seeing that this group of kids would begin to get it together and work with me instead of against me. It really seemed like more work than I had energy for.
But then, today was Monday. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better. I think 65% of the students were with me instead of against me. When you start out with only 10% on your side, that is progress.
And you know what? It is the week before vacation and much to my surprise, they brought presents. Presents! Wow. I haven’t taught middle schoolers in a while and their genuine desire to say Merry Christmas…or at least their willingness to deliver their parents’ greetings… really touched me. Relationships are being created. Trust is being built. It is just taking a while…as long as I don’t give up.