I Love My Students, Except for Today

Jan 13, 2011 by    Posted under: Travel

I love my students. I adore them. I look forward to seeing them and hearing what they have to say each day. I love that they want to talk to me, even outside of class. English is not easy for most of them, so the extra conversations mean even more to me.

However, today I would have done just about anything to get them to keep their mouths shut. It’s the first time since camp started that I have felt this way. I actually said to them, “I did not dismiss you! Get back in the class room and pick up your mess!” I’ve been known to be bossy in my life, but I think this took it to a new level.

I’ve been trying to figure out what was different about today and have come up with two probable causes. Firstly, these poor kids have been cooped up in a classroom, all day, every day, for a week straight. They haven’t been given any time to just run around and go crazy, so they acted like vildas chias in class. Secondly, they’re teenagers and a week is just about enough time for the girls and boys to get comfortable enough with one another to start some major flirting. The hormones have taken over any sense they may have had earlier in the week.

I don’t blame them for acting up and not wanting to listen. I was 15 once too. I remember having selective hearing in class while talking with my friends and flirting with boys. But, now I am the teacher and have to decide how tough I am willing to get with my students. I feel torn. They are only here because their parents made them come. This is their winter break. I firmly believe that they should not be in school but out enjoying themselves and being kids. At the same time, they are here and their parents paid a lot of money for them to be and I have a job to to.

I tried a few different things with them today. I first tried talking with them, explaining that I understood they didn’t want to be here and I wish they were able to do whatever they wanted to do, yada, yada, yada, but that if we get our work done, we would have free time at the end of class. It worked for about 20 minutes and then they were out of control again. I then lectured them on manners, how it’s very rude to talk when the teacher is talking. Again, they were great for about 20 minutes. So, I brought out the guilt. I didn’t want to lay this too heavily on them so I gave them just enough guilt to get through the end of class.

Five classes later, I’m exhausted and happy the day is at an end. I have loved my students from the first day I met them and know that no matter how frustrating they were today, they were just doing what they were meant to do – be kids. So, even though I didn’t love them so much today, I know I will wake up loving them again in the morning. Pent up energy, hormones and all, they are absolutely wonderful.

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