Full Circle Karma – Teaching Middle School

jail

Exhausted:

Adjective: 1. Drained of one’s physical or mental resources; very tired. 2. (of resources or reserves) Completely used up.

I can honestly say that I am completely exhausted. I’ve never known exhaustion such as this before. I wasn’t this exhausted after doing a 20 kilometer hike in and out of volcanoes in New Zealand. I wasn’t this exhausted after pulling an all-nighter, followed by 3 finals in college. I wasn’t this exhausted after accidentally jumping out of my sailboat and having to swim for miles to chase it in sailing class (true story, by the way).

So what’s the source of all this exhaustion, you ask?

jailTeenagers.

And not just your average teenagers. We’re talking the peak-adolescent teenagers. The 13 and 14 year olds. You remember that age. You thought you were invincible and so utterly cool. I look back at myself at that age and cringe. I didn’t give a flying fuck in middle school, pardon my language. But seriously. I’m wondering if this is just karma now or what.

Last week my kids were exceptionally monstrous. I can take a hefty amount of screwing around, but this was on a whole new level. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s nearing the end of the semester or if it’s because of the upcoming summer season or the fact that finals are coming up. All I know is that nearly half of my classes are bat-shit-crazy and are incredibly detrimental to my mental health.

I know what you’re thinking – “maybe you’re just a shitty teacher?” Trust me, the thought has crossed my mind many a times. Well if I’M a shitty teacher, then my entire school is full of shitty teachers because nobody can seem to manage these same kids that are driving me to alcoholism (“a shot of Soju for every time I want to strangle a student!”)

I’ve tried being patient. I’ve tried laughing it off. I’ve tried silent glares. I’ve tried yelling. I’ve tried sentence-writing (“I will not be rude and disrespectful in class.” x15). I’ve tried “minus-stamps”. I’ve tried louder yelling.

Nothing. Works.

Other teachers are having mental breakdowns and bursting into tears in the middle of class whilst trying to control their students. Others result to just hitting their students. So at least I’m not alone in my battles against these monster-children.

I’ve realized that I may have been a little ambitious in my hopes as an English teacher. Another problem may be the fact that I’ve been completely engrossed in Harry Potter. Reading about all these amazing things that a young teenager is doing like fighting the most evil sorcerer and saving lives and here my students are – cheating in every game we play and jumping all over their chairs and desks like 5-year-olds. It’s as if I have 800 Draco Malfoy’s and maybe a few Hermione’s. Definitely a few Weasley twins and Neville’s as well.

Anyway, this was more of a venting post so I apologize if you’re still reading, waiting for some advice or some type of epiphany, let alone some type of conclusion at all. Here’s some advice at the off-chance that any middle school kids are reading this: do not be a shit-head in school or else you might grow up to find yourself teaching middle school and having karma bite you in the ass.

On a brighter note, my younger Saturday-reading-class-kids remind me why I wanted to teach :)

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  1. Ceri says: Reply

    Wow. I’ve never had to teach teenagers before but a few of my colleagues at the last school I worked at had to teach them in an Orthodox Jewish school. You’d think with it being extremely strict and conservative that the students would be really studious but nope. They were known as the nightmare classes. Whenever a new class would come up and the directors were trying to find teachers to take over them, we’d all avoid answering email and phone calls. Nobody wanted those students! I see you as a female Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society. You can do it. 😉 haha

    1. Haha thanks Ceri :) I think the more you try to be strict with kids, the worse they end up being! Like how Catholic school girls have somewhat of a bad reputation haha. I’ve been trying the silent approach where I wait for my students to stop talking and it’s actually working now. Not sure if it’s I’ve already done so much yelling before or because I told them I’d let them watch a movie next week if they were good 😉 either way, it worked! :)

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