Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Making Lemonade

We've all heard the saying: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

What feel-good crap. When Satan was testing Job (Old Testament reference there), Job didn't rely on pablum and try to make the best of it. No, he relied on his faith to allow him to persevere. Job did not make lemonade.

I'm no Job, though. I'm going to try to make lemonade.

You see, I have one class of students that is--putting this delicately here--not the best behaved group of students I've ever taught. It only takes a few rotten students to destroy the learning environment of a class, and this particular class has several more than that critical mass. It's not a pleasant environment for me, and I'm sure it's not for the students, either.

I can complain about them and gripe about them and get myself all bent out of shape about them, but that doesn't do anybody any good. So I've decided to channel this negativity to more positive ventures.

Each day I have that class (4 days of 5), I'm going to come home and get on my elliptical trainer for half an hour. I'm going to release my frustration about that class with exercise. With any luck I'll lose some of this weight.

I'm making lemonade.


CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Happy shedding-of-pounds, Darren!

Anonymous said...

This is a collateral "benefit" of compulsory attendance.

At the college level, I have learned that annoying people often earn low grades, and this often leads them to drop/stop attending before very far into the semester. But when I was at the high school, I was deeply grateful for our AP who actively transferred the worst kids to the continuation school. When the district administrators decided he was overdoing it, and told him he couldn't transfer them out until they were 16, he made a habit of putting their 16th birthdays on his calendar so that he could rid us of them as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

Tell the trouble makers to get up against the wall and get their chins in. Declare matial law in that class and take the initiative.

Darren said...

Of course that's always an option, but not really a helpful one. These kids seem to come from a "loud" environment. Yelling isn't going to make any positive changes; if it would, those changes would already have occurred at home.

I'm done the martial law thing before and may have to do it again in this class. I try to keep that as a last resort. I'm trying to be authoritative without being authoritarian, but I'm beginning to wonder if some of these kids will respond to nothing but yelling and force.

Ellen K said...

I feel your pain. I have had classes like that. Sadly, you almost hope some students will be absent or in in school suspension because the chemistry of the class changes. One time it was a snotty cheerleader, another time it was the campus drug dealer and one time it was a kid that to this day I think was a future serial killer. You just have to take each day one at a time and breathe a sigh of relief when you've made it through.

loonyhiker said...

I think we've all had classes like that. Maybe you can start bragging on them when they do something right and call their parents. They won't be expecting this and you might be able to break this "bad" cycle.