Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Day I Lost it

I have been teaching for three years now. Three-and-a-half if you count my student teaching semester. Today, for the first time ever, I LOST IT while teaching. I lost my temper, blue a gasket, hit the ceiling, flew off the deep end...whatever you wanna call it. I LOST IT.

Now don't get me wrong. I've definitely gotten a little enraged before. I've had moments where I could hear my voice getting louder and my voice getting sterner. My students can normally sense these moments, and that's when they stop whatever they are doing and get to work, because they know that in a moment, there will be consequences if they don't stop.

My fifth grade reading group today apparently did not have their teacher-temper-radars turned on. They did not sense the build up of emotion coming from me, and they did not stop. They kept giving me attitude and rolling their eyes, and talking under their breath until, like I mentioned before, I LOST IT.

Let me set up the story first. It all started last night. I went to bed not feeling well. It was storming, it was hot, and I had a sore throat. Luke was apparently cold for some reason, so the air conditioner was off. This is strange since I normally tell Luke he's a werewolf because his skin radiates so much heat. (What? You didn't know werewolves' skin radiated heat?? You obviously haven't read New Moon, Eclipse, or Breaking Dawn ;-)) Anyway, because of all these factors, I could not sleep. Very frustrating, because I NEVER have trouble sleeping.

I finally fell asleep around 2:30 or 3, and had to wake up again at 6 to get ready for work. I was TIRED. And I still felt sick. Not a good combination.

Fast forward to this afternoon when I had my 5th grade reading group. Apparently they were all having bad days too, because they did not want to do anything. The first half-hour of class consisted of them rolling their eyes, not doing their work, grumbling and complaining, and even ARGUING. With me. You can see why I was getting angry. I started out with a few warnings. The kind that normally get everyone working and on task again. Instead, though, one little girl decided that she would argue with me some more. And that's what did it. I was sick of the attitude. I was sick of the disrespect. I was really sick of the lazy work-ethic. That last little argument REALLY set me off.

I could feel my voice raising, and my blood pressure rising. I was borderline yelling, which I don't ever do. I knew my face was getting red. I could feel myself going on and on lecturing these kids, and I couldn't stop myself. I knew my brows were furrowed and I was glaring at them through my anger. I don't even remember what I said, but I remember thinking the whole time, "Wow, it finally happened. After 3.5 years, I finally completely lost my temper in front of my students." And then it got really quiet. Everyone was either staring at me with their jaws dropped, or looking down at the floor afraid to make eye contact.

And then a wonderful thing happened...the kids stopped talking, the little girl accepted her punishment, and the kids went to work. And I don't regret losing my temper at all! I think it was warranted and that they learned a lesson today. At least they learned that they can't get away with arguing in my classroom!

After about an hour or so, it was about time to go home. Myself and my students were all in much better spirits, and the events of earlier were just about forgotten. The kids were cleaning up and packing for home, and I decided to talk to them about what happened earlier. I told them that I was sorry I had lost my temper, but, "We need to be acting with a little more respect. You cannot argue with a teacher, and we need to lose the attitudes."

Then one little girl looked up at me with the biggest smile on her face and said, "I kinda liked that. You got REALLY feisty!"

I could not keep a straight face, and had to burst out laughing at that. I have definitely never been called feisty before, and it just struck me as hilarious for some reason. And it showed me that kids really and truly do like to be disciplined. They need boundaries, and too many parents aren't giving them any! Anyway, that is a whole other post for another time. I don't need to get on my soapbox today.

Never a dull moment, I tell ya. I chose to wrote about this incident, but there have been sooo many other crazy things going on this week: for example, a 4th grader got dragged down the hall by the resident school police officer screaming "I DON'T WANNA GO TO JAIL!" After stabbing his teacher with a pencil. Also, a little boy ran away somewhere inside the building today and there was a search party out looking for him. At one point today, a little boy came crawling down the hall, following the principal and talking like a baby, smiling as he looked into my room (okay, I admit, those were all three the SAME boy. But he sure does add a lot of drama/craziness!) Also, people are getting riffed left and right. A crazy good thing is that I haven't had to bring my own lunch for half of the week because it's teacher appreciation week and various churches and organizations have brought in food for us. Oh, and I got to hold a baby raccoon today along with the 5th grade reading class to go along with our reading of "Rascal" and "Where the Red Fern Grows."

SEE????! Never a dull moment.

Buuut, I think I can make it through this craziness, because I only have...


  1. AHHHHHHHH!! I hear you, girl!! I am just finishing writing a post about something SUPER similar. This point in the year I have NO PATIENCE. I should, but I DON'T. Then I say, "Why should I?" These lovely children have been in school for almost 9 months and KNOW the rules. Therefore, if they choose to disobey or show better believe I'm going to come UN-glued!!!!!!!!

    They know what's expected and I don't tolerate anything less!!!!!!! Only, mine are only 7 and 8 and they are doing the same things...lazy, rude, not caring, etc.

    Thank you so much for sharing. You just gave me a laugh that I needed!!

    Hopefully you're night will be better and you'll be able to sleep with the AIR ON!!!! ;)

  2. Curious: do you know what the punishment was for the boy who stabbed his teacher with his pencil? I ask because my roommate is a substitute until he can find a full-time teaching job, and subs a lot for the Akron school district. He had a long-term job there not long ago (in the worst middle school in the district), because a 6th grader tried to stab his teacher with a pencil, the teacher reacted (how I'm not exactly sure), and the kid ended up falling in the garbage can. The kid was suspended for like a week, and the teacher was also suspended for 2 weeks. Thus the long term sub job. Just curious how another district handled a similar situation, becuase according to my roommate, this school gives it's teachers NO support when dealing with these kids.

  3. Been there, sister, been there. It happens rarely for me, too, and I hate it when I lose it. But sometimes, it's necessary. Don't worry. Even the best of us lose it! We're human, too!

  4. Go you for making it almost 3.5 years!!

  5. We just had a guest speaker in one of my Grad classes that works with at risk students and he told us about a great discipline technique! I just loved it. He calls it "The Can of Death" It's just a tin can that he keeps on his desk that contains slips of paper with consequences on them. When I student disobeys or lashes out, he points to the can and tells them to chose their consequence. This technique is helpful, especially for at risk kids, to direct negative feelings to the can instead of at the teacher. The students hate the can, but love it at the same time.
    He was a reading teacher, so he included things such as "Write a 500 word essay on the origin of Velcro,"(That was my favorite. Lol.)
    This guy was a genius because he included so many little techniques with this. One paper said "You lucked out!" because everyone gets away with things every once in a while. He also made sure to read all of the consequences to the students at the beginning of the year so that there were no surprises and they knew exactly what to expect. And one paper said "look at the bottom of the can," which said, "Write a 5000 word essay on the origin of the English language." He told us that little did his students know, he took that paper out that day. They all feared of getting that slip, and were relieved when they got a lesser punishment the whole year.
    I just think it's a great idea! :) Instead of the teacher punishing the child directly, the student chooses their own consequences. They learned to love it and knew they needed. One time the can broke so the teacher threw it in the trash can. The next morning, he found the can on his desk duct tape back together.
    Sorry I wrote a book. Lol.

  6. Ha! This post was good! Sometimes it's good to put your foot down and let them now you're serious - it makes the respect you more! Good for you!


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