Category Archives: frustrations

Insomnia

I’m not sure that what I have qualifies as insomnia. But, I DO know that my sleep schedule is completely screwed up. As you will see when I post this blog entry, it is way past the normal “go to sleep” time for people. In fact, in other time zones, some people are waking up to start their day right now. In MY time zone my dad gets up around this time because his drive to work takes him an hour and he starts work really early. (Lucky him — he’s on vacation this week).

I’m not sure why I can’t sleep. Maybe I’m nervous about year four. Maybe I have just got on a bad sleep schedule. I thought back to my day…I got out of bed at noon (yeah, that’s late, but…even with that, I used to be able to go to bed at 1 am & fall asleep) and didn’t have any caffeine after 4pm. I wish I knew what was going on. A few years ago I had really severe sleep problems. Those problems were because my boyfriend at the time moved to AZ. When he moved, I realized I hadn’t slept in my (still newish) apartment alone yet (I moved in, in July…he moved away in October). Our relationship was great while he was here — it floundered and sputtered when he moved. My doctor put me on Ambien. For the most part, I loved it. It was fantastic and worked really well for me. I just got worried that I needed it too much.

Yet…every summer I go through the same thing. I screw up my sleep schedule & act like I’m some college kid. I stay up late & get up late. I’ve never had trouble sleeping in in the morning. This summer has been the worst though. I go to bed and I just lie there. I can’t get my brain to shut off. Right now, I’m only sort of tired. (It doesn’t help that I’m worried the A/C in my apartment is dying — it sounds so loud, like it will rocket out of the wall. FREAKY!). Last night I just lie there, then I put on some relaxing music. However, the relaxing music triggered something in me (I don’t feel like going into the details) and I started to freak out & cry. (not related to the ex-boyfriend, trust me).

I hate not being able to sleep. I LOVE sleep. Sleep is wonderful. Sleep makes me happy. Sleeping is one of my favorite things to do. But right now, sleep is what I cannot have. I don’t want to have to call my doctor, but…maybe there’s just too much in my brain right now in my life. Maybe I have to have ambien again. It certainly was magical. I just don’t like the idea of being reliant on something to help me sleep. However, the tylenol pm just isn’t cutting it anymore. And, I can’t not sleep. Not sleeping will be…well, apparently you can die if you don’t sleep. I’m not up for that.

So, maybe I’ll call my doctor tomorrow. Crap. I mean…today. The sun will be up soon. My alarm is set for 9:30. I wonder when I’ll stop hitting snooze & get up?…

I do have to take the recycling to the recycling place…and move all my magazines to school and…

See…see what it’s like in my head? Geez.

Ok, g’nite!

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Filed under about me, crankiness, frustrations, napping

Spring Break is not soon enough

Today was horrendous. Today I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. Today we had a tornado drill. Today I felt that I’m a failure as a teacher. Today I felt my teacher education failed me. Today I wanted to apply for a different teaching job in a different district — a district and a school that would be MUCH different from my current position.

Thank God today is over.

I feel like my classes are trainwrecks. I feel like the few students who are doing what they are supposed to are lost in the shuffle because of the jackholes who take up my time with inane questions or 5th grade behavior.

Spring break — how I wish it was today.

I think tomorrow, instead of trying to give them notes when we’re not in the library, that I just show the first half of To Kill a Mockingbird. None of them are reading it — it’ll be a nice chance for them to (hopefully) get hooked into the story. Maybe then they’ll be interested in reading the book. MAYBE.

At this point I’m so discouraged, I’m not holding my breath.

I understand, today…why a colleague who started with me last year jumped ship for private Catholic school.

Oy.

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TGIF

Grades were due today — mine are atrocious. I’m going to give them amnesty. Every time I have to do something like that, to save them a bit, a feel like a little part of me has wilted. Why can’t students do their work on time? Oy…but, I don’t want to rant today.

I’ve been buying teacher nerd books like CRAZY lately. That’s my plan for the summer — summer school and bone up on my reading (gotta git some learnin’!) so that I can better plan things out for next year.

So far…I feel better about what’s going on, teachingwise, since I planned out the entire quarter, week by week. I gave all the students a calendar and everything. For example — next Monday, a district curric standards test. Another one on Tuesday. Another component of the research paper due Wednesday. Outline due Friday. Notes on how-to do outlines — either Monday or Tuesday (I need to check the library schedule). With everything planned out — I feel a smidge more organized. However, when I look at my cubey desk? The feeling quickly goes away.

Speaking of going away — it’s late. I gotta get outta here. Need to find food for the evening. Later taters!

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Expectations

Silly me — I did not know it was too much for me to ask/expect of them to be quiet during things like their bellwork and TESTS. The tests thing really gets to me, moreso than anything else. They tell me “we can’t be quiet for 90 minutes straight!”. Hello, your class is split in half by lunch! That is NOT 90 minutes straight of being quiet. Plus, half the time we waste those 90 minutes because I’m trying to police all ya’ll from acting like idiots and killing each other.

I did not know that it was too much to ask for them to complete their work as well. That giving them 4 weeks was not long enough for a paper that’s 3 to 5 pages in length. Yes, many of those days within those 4 weeks were spent learning the process (you’d be surprised how many of my students thought Google is a SOURCE), learning how to disseminate information, and how to synthesize it (I’d like my 3 to 5 pages please, but I don’t want 3 to 5 pages of unorganized crap). But still, you can’t write a 3 to 5 page paper in 4 weeks, especially given the fact that for 2 of those weeks we were in the library for all 90 minutes of class (save one day), and the other 2 weeks we had 45 minutes of class in the library — EACH DAY. Thats 900 minutes + 405 minutes = 1305 minutes of classtime I allotted for my students to write their papers. Not to mention weekends.

And they wonder why I’m hardly ever in a good mood when I’m teaching them. DUH.

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Phone calls home

These feel, many times, like the bane of my existence. (Yes, I deal heavily in hyperbole. It is my language of choice.) Anyway…I have to make 15 phone calls home to the parents/guardians of my juniors this week. Those 15 calls?–yup, discussing students’ failing status. This is due to the no-late work policy I have for my junior research paper. I have a built-in amount of “gimme” points each week. If you’re working and you’re there, then you get 25 points. However, many of my students manage to lose 5 points or more per week. My lovely slacker? He’s got a 10% for the class right now, b/c he’d rather sleep or read magazines or do ANYTHING than what he needs to, in order to write this paper and pass this class.

I haven’t even updated my seniors’ grades yet. What I do know is that I’ve got one student who took advantage of the extra credit offered and currently has a 117%. Yeah, I think he can afford to skip an assignment or two. Ooh, that reminds me, I have to find an assignment from his BFF in that class — apparently a sub put it on my desk. Alarming, as it’s kinda the Bermuda Triangle of desks. *sigh*

I wonder how many phone calls to senior parents I’ll be making.

Good thing I’m planning to make a few good calls — i.e., kids who are just great to have in class, for one reason or another.

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Oh S&$%

What do you do, when your students (who are doing the research paper) don’t know how to do research? Like, actually don’t know how to search, or can’t come up with search terms (at least not anything that’s specific or related to their topic) or determine what makes a valid/credible website. Don’t understand the concept of what a source is. I thought I’d made things as step by step as I could. But, each successive class seems more basic than the class previous, and I have to keep dumbing it down and pulling it apart and …dammit, when you’re an abstract random, big picture thinker like me, that’s effing HARD! I envision the final product and then know (sometimesly instinctively, sometimes by trial and error) what I need to get there. It’s worked well for me. Until now. This research paper project makes me want to drink. Or sleep. Or bury my head in the sand.

I’m afraid of how many people are going to fail.

I asked one kid today (this is his third time through this particular English class; I’m his third teacher) why he came to my class every day if all he was going to do is sleep? I told him if he is making the choice to do that, then he is making the choice to fail. And, don’t come to me in a few weeks begging for makeup work, because that’s NOT going to cut it and I’m not going to feel the least bit sorry for him. I’ll help him now if he wants the help and is willing to do the work, but if not, then it’s your funeral baby — here’s the shovel. Start digging.

God effing dammit. Shit.

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Filed under frustrations, juniors, research paper

Conferences

We have them tonight. It’s the fourth and final time for the year. I told each of my classes that they’d earn extra credit if they or their parents (or both) attend.

Last quarter I spoke w/ parents/guardians about SIX of my students. SIX out of SEVENTY or so (I can’t remember right now how big each class was). Awesome, eh?

The parent apathy or disconnectedness in my district just hurts my heart sometimes. I know that some of them can’t come b/c they’re at work. But the parents who have absolutely no idea what their child is doing, particularly when it comes to school, just kill me! Their apathy leads to their child’s apathy. A vicious cycle, which is why I have a TON of students with no research papers. Still.

Today my credit recovery students are wiggin’ me. Some of them work really well as independent students. Well, ok, about 2 of the 10 (2 dropped my class). One of them skipped the last half of class. He purposefully did NOT return after class. *frustrated sigh* I am at my wits’ and patience’ end with him — I do NOT know what to do. Thankfully, I’ve had the presence of mind to be on the ball w/ keeping his counselor and administrator updated with his classroom behavior, etc. Counselor actually emailed me today and said there may not be anything else I can do.

That’s one of the things that’s been hard for me as a teacher. See, as a student, I was conscientious about my homework. I may have procrastinated the hell out of it, but I did it. Or, when it came to books (*ahem* my junior year), I may not have read the whole thing, but the way I saw it, I was doing well enough on the quizzes and tests that it didn’t matter. As long as I kept up my A’s in my classes, I kept going with the flow that I had. Deadlines that were set out for me (like with our sophomore research paper), I may have completed the night before, but I made sure I was always working during class time. I remember long nights of tv watching in high school. Or, talking on the phone with friends. About midway through 10th grade math class got REALLY difficult for me, so that was the homework I focused on at home. AND, I would get help in the mornings from my teacher. That was me, as a student. I did what I needed to, to keep my grades up (in the case of math, “up” was a C).

My students on the other hand — many of them don’t work in class, they prefer to talk and for SURE don’t work at home. I can tell b/c when I look at their rough drafts, I see they’re on the same place from one day to the next, meaning they didn’t work on it at home. Now, if you’re a whizz and writing, AND a super-fast typer, that kind of work practice won’t be an issue. However, if you KNOW you struggle to write, then don’t you think you would take that into account, and take work home for the evening?

SERIOUSLY!

I’m not as frustrated today as I was yesterday. I realize I just need to let go and let them fail. I can’t do the work for them, and I can’t force motivation on them. I can do my best to inspire and perhaps instill the fear of god (aka failure) in them, but sometimes even that doesn’t work.

So, while my students and parents, and other students and parents are milling around our gymnasium tonight, I’ll be reading/marking the rough drafts I do have. And, preparing a revision test for those people who will never get papers to me.


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Filed under frustrations, letting go, research paper