Tonight is the cub scout camp out and so Michael and I are home alone. He went down at 6:00 and now I'm not really sure what to do with myself. I am so used to chaos and craziness that when a quiet night comes, it feels wrong.
After loading both the dishwasher and the washing machine, I decided to work on my last two weeks of College Algebra handouts. But, I'll admit, my heart just isn't in it tonight. I've had a hard week at school and I'm not feeling as motivated as usual. So, I thought I might feel better if I wrote a blog entry and got some of it off of my chest. Maybe after writing it all out I can dive back into school preparation and stop worrying about it.
My Tuesday evening class is, well, spirited. There are 28 students in the class, which is over capacity, and they all have very good attendance. 3 of the students are female, the rest are male. Usually my classes go quite smoothly, but this last Tuesday went all wrong. My students were more on edge than normal and many were yelling out and trying to entertain themselves and others with their comments. One of the less socially aware students finally yelled out a comment that crossed the line of anyone's definition of appropriateness. I wasn't sure if the comment was necessarily directed towards me, but under any condition, it was not something that was acceptable or even repeatable for the curious among you.
Some of my other students, the ones that actually like me, felt offended by the comment as well and chose to use some colorful, but not appropriate, language to let the first student know that his comment was not welcome. It went downhill from there and I actually had 4 or 5 students catch me after class to break the news that their learning had been disrupted that day. Good thing they told me, huh?
So, for the first time in my teaching career, I actually went up a level to deal with a student. I went right to that student's department chair and asked him to please speak to him. Immediately after doing this, I regretted it. I usually like to deal with student problems in house rather than getting others involved. But then, when I thought of what was said, I realized this was not a situation that should be handled by me.
His chair talked to him and I just got an email telling me that the student admitted that he had used profanity and made inappropriate comments directed towards me. He says that he is acting out because he is frustrated and doesn't understand the class very well. He missed an important week and hasn't been able to catch up. I think the email bothered me because, though I am all about helping every student, him feeling lost in the class does not excuse his behavior. I understand that some of my students don't have the best communication skills, but this seemed like a really rotten way to ask for extra help in the class. I told his chair I would do what I could to help him, but he needed to make sure to emphasize to him what was appropriate and what was not in a classroom setting.
So, that's it. That's the story. I'm still not sure what class is going to be like on Tuesday and part of me wonders if the student will even show up. And a lot of me feels guilty for even making a big deal out of it in the first place. Then, there is the part of me that knows that I can not allow myself to be treated like that even if it is under the guise of a pathetic cry for help. Of course, the silver lining to this all is that I am now fully aware that there are people out there with even less in the way of social skills than myself.
Now, back to my class handouts.