Teaching Trials

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I am teaching a blogging workshop on Thursday night at New Work City in Chinatown. You should come, because it’s going to be awesome. And I need some support. I’m looking forward to teaching adults, because I’ve had some struggles with my middle schoolers.

I’m chagrined about my creative writing class in the after school this semester. I’ve had some challenges. And I just want the kids to write, damnit. I want them to sit quietly with pen and paper in hand and go for it. I give them great creative writing prompts, and I give them fun assignments. And we’ve gone on lovely field trips.

But still, they throw carrots at each other and scribble on each other’s worksheets. And in the last class, after a trip to Shake Shack, no less, one girl poured salt in another girl’s hair.

I don’t know if I’m not keeping my kids busy enough. Or if I am being too hard or too soft on them. I love them but I don’t understand them. And I overheard one girl tell another one that I hate her and I told her, “I don’t hate you, I love you, but I don’t like what you do.”

And it’s freakin’ after school, so it’s supposed to be fun. Let’s respect each other. And let’s get creative. Let’s write.

On my pinterest board, I reminded myself: The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.

I try to remember that. And I do give them a lot of love.

My friend thinks I should start calling parents and washing my hands of the kids who act up. But I don’t want to give up. I have faith in these kids. They just have to write more.

If only they’d write about their lives, I know they’d know themselves better and feel better about themselves. And maybe stop goofing off.

That’s why I blog — to know myself better and to feel better about myself. And to stop goofing off.

While I am feeling unhappy about my after school teaching experience, I’m hoping that my adult students on Thursday night will be a little more manageable.

Blogging workshop at new work city on January 9, 2014

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2 thoughts on “Teaching Trials

  1. Mary Beth, this is Rashida. When I was teaching my 10-week art class I had a similar experience. I didn’t know how to connect with the kids. They chased each other around the classroom and tried to stab each other with pencils. But through it, there were a few children who were stellar and one told me that “This was the best after school class I have ever had.” It may not seem like it, but there are some students in the class who are receiving value from what you do. And there are some who will get the benefits after the class over and they had the opportunity to let it all sink in. Your work is not in vain. :-)

  2. kizzbeth

    Oh I wish I could come to your afterschool classes and support you. So many years I spent in those trenches teaching kids to dance when I was barely more than a kid myself. I might need a do over. I am sure that you’re reaching some of them and the value is both in the field trips and the writing. My second wish is for them to give you a sign that they’re getting it.

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