This remains true with my students in my classroom. I know all of my students fairly well and they are comfortable with my presence in the classroom. In fact, maybe too comfortable. As detailed by my action research proposal, I am still struggling to promote a positive learning community in my classroom simply because some students partake in problem behaviors. Just today, for example, I had to pause instruction multiple times because students were laughing at computer noises and carrying on conversation that was both off-topic and interfering with my instruction. It may be possible that since my students have not suffered any repercussions from their behavior in my class, they do not feel the need to change it. I certainly do not want to threaten my students with discipline, but is that what it has to come down to?
I am preparing to conduct a group interview with the students that propagate these problem behaviors. The goal of this interview or discussion is to get to the bottom of why my students talk and disrupt the class while working together to find a solution to the problem. I find myself consumed with this issue beyond school hours. I sit at home trying to figure out the best way to handle these students. I’ll just accept that as a good sign that I was truly meant for the teaching profession.
Another topic I would like to bring up in this reflection post is parental involvement. Let me open up by explaining what happened today after school:
I stayed late to allow for students to conduct makeup testing. One of my students arrived along with her mother. The student proceeded to complete her test while her mother took a seat by the classroom puzzle table to try and make some headway with the latest puzzle. I figured that this would be a great opportunity to point out to her mother the assignments that she was missing and started to print out her grade report. I highlighted the missing assignments and handed it over to her mother to look at.
“Could you email me this?” Her question was quick and blunt, and of course I responded in the affirmative. I continued with, “I would love to show you our classroom website and all of the resources we use for the class,” and was quickly redirected with the same question: “Could you email me this?” She could tell I was, well, puzzled.
As the student continued to finish the test, her mother began, “This is my second day off in thirty days. I do not have time to manage my daughter’s syllabi and missing assignments. Just email me what I need to know and I will take care of it. Plus, she has ADD–”
“Mom! I know I have a condition. You don’t have to whisper!”
“I don’t want to distract you while you are finishing your test,” she curtly replied. Turning to me, she finished, “just send me an email.” She turned away from me to continue working on the puzzle.
I still cannot quite put my finger on how I feel about the whole interaction, but I would settle on the word “troubled” if I had to narrow it down to just one word. The way my student’s mother was speaking made me feel as though her daughter was somehow an impediment in her life. There was such a seriousness and emotional disconnect between the two, one may not even be able to tell they were related aside from their appearance. I did not want to impede anything, especially as a new teacher, but I can’t help but wonder how I might handle the situation if I were a five-year, ten-year teaching veteran.
I truly feel for my student, in a way I did not before, after watching her interact with her mother. It was incredible to see how much parental relationships could inform my knowledge about my students. Knowing what I know now, I am curious to see how I can help my student grow in my class.