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The Challenges of Being a First-Year Teacher

The Challenges of Being a First-Year Teacher

Mrs. Mimi

Needless to say, boyfriend did not do any work. And by “any work”, I mean, if there was a word to describe someone who did less work than no work at all, I would use that word here. He was too busy drawing graphically violent pictures, throwing math manipulatives at other children, cursing, stealing, and generally making our lives miserable. (Again, NOW I look back and cringe at my inability to see the signs, but at the time…I. Wanted. To. Die.)

I did try all the tricks I had in my very small arsenal at the time. I separated him from the group, put him back with a group of good influences, gave him a partner, isolated him, held him for recess, begged, cried, screamed, reasoned, called his parents, called The Weave, called the Coast Guard ( or at least I would have if I could)…nothing.

One day ONE DAY ONE RIDICULOUS DAY, my friend decides that he wants to do some work. (Mind you, this is after spending the entire morning tearing his homework packet into teeny tiny shreds, wadding those shreds into wads and using them to a) stick up his nose, b) suck on, c) throw on my floor and/or d) stick up his nose and then snot rocket them out at other children.) So what does he do? He steals a pencil from the nearest unsuspecting child, who was actually using it at the time. When said child shouted in protest, he got stabbed. With his own pencil.

Can you see why I routinely locked myself in a closet and had a good cry and possibly fantasized about a career at Papyrus? I bet nobody blows snot rockets with $25 stationary.

Boyfriend then gets out of his seat, and begins to run around the classroom stealing pencils from anyone and everyone. In a moment of sheer insanity in which I had totally lost my teacher cool, my hanging on by a thread teacher cool, I shouted,

WHAT ARE YOU DOING????” at the top of my lungs.

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“I want to get my work done like you always say I should and I don’t have a pencil.”

TODAY you want to do work? TODAY? Well then…allow me!”

(It gets worse.)

I then walked around the classroom, collecting pencils from all the children who looked at me like I was crazy. (Which, duh, I was.) I held out the array of writing implements to my friend and said, “Pick any one you like, because if YOU want to DO WORK TODAY OF ALL DAYS, be our guest!”

He looked at me, probably recognizing that I had hit rock bottom and may be seconds from jumping out the window. And even though he drove me to the very edges of my sanity, I don’t think that’s what he was after. So he took a pencil, went back to his seat and actually did some work.

I wish I could tell you that this story ended in a neat little bow and from that day on, my friend completed all his work on time. But I can’t. We battled for the remainder of the year – him because he didn’t know what else to do and me because I didn’t know what else to do either. We were both alone, unsupported and totally frustrated beyond belief.

And yet, year after year, with a very “sink or swim, honey” attitude we continue the tradition of sticking the most troubled with the least prepared. Then we wonder why things don’t seem to get better…

(insert Debbie Downer music here)

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