I miss them too.

What do I do when I still have kids literally begging me, every single day, to come back to my class? What do I say?

I've been telling them that I didn't have the option to trade students, that if I could have, of course I would have traded for them...but it's not enough. And even though I think most of the teachers they went to are really good, solid teachers....the kids aren't connecting with them, at least not yet.

This morning, two of my boys came to ask if they could please come back to my class, PLEASE, they HATE their new teacher, they promise they'll work really hard. Because of their support needs and the school schedule, they can't come back. But they're also not making any growth in their new class because they're not doing a damn thing. One has been kicked out of class all week, in fact. (He and his parents have a meeting with the school Monday to address the issue and they asked me to attend. It'll probably be deeply uncomfortable but I said I'd do it, though I don't know what I'll say.) I saw one of them in the hall a bit later. As he trudged into his new class, he called over his shoulder to me, "Miss you..." :(

During lunch, a group of boys was walking down the hall using some rather school-inappropriate language; I called them out on it, and they apologized. Then one said, "Isn't it interesting, Ms. Teachin', how we all used to be so good and now that we don't have you anymore, we're acting so bad?" (They're in trouble in their electives.) I tossed back that they make their own choices and could still choose to be good, and that they damn well better start, but it still broke my heart a little. As I walked up the stairs, I heard them talking about how they missed the good learning environment in my room. Yes, actually in those words.

After school at a basketball game, several of my girls clustered around me. What are you doing in class, they wanted to know. I told them, and they seemed surprised. Oh, we're doing that too....but it's so boring in our class, I bet you'd make it fun. I shrugged it off, said that I'm sure plenty of kids find my class boring too, but they shook their heads and said that no, it would be more fun with me, it always used to be.

What do I say to them? What do I do?


Rachel said...

I think you're doing well so far - what you said to those boys would have been my suggestion: remind them that they make their own choices. I would add that, since they seem to look up to you so much, tell them that you're still watching/checking on them and it's disappointing to hear they aren't making good decisions. Maybe if they know you still care when they're bad, that might stick w/ 'em?

I would also suggest forcing them to be positive. Have a heart to heart where you say, Look, I miss you, too, but wallowing in the past keeps us from being successful in the present & future. So, we had a good time, I miss you, too, but let's look ahead. From now on, when I see you, I want you to tell me something positive. Something you did in class, something out of class, whatever...just something positive to get out of the rut of looking backward. (when I come home and whine about my day, my husband makes me do this. "OK, now tell me something positive." He won't let me leave until I do it & it helps keep me from despairing )

Joan said...

Rachel pretty much said all I would have said.

I was in a similar situation two years ago when a new teacher was hired in October and 2-3 kids were taken from each class to form the new class. I lost two wonderful girls. It was hard on them. One eventually came back to me when mom when through the proper process and wait time. The other girl had a really tough time. It broke my heart.

teachin' said...

Those are really good suggestions - I especially like the one about saying something positive. I think that would help them, but also me! :) Thank you both for your thoughts!

Pissed Off said...

I tell them "I only work here and have to do what my bosses say." It's hard but it's the truth. Soemtimes, I suggest they have their parents call. That sometimes helps.

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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