Thursday, 20 June 2013

Whiny Kids

Are kids more whiny (whinier?) today?  I’ve been teaching for four years now and this group takes the cake.  And honestly it wears me down.  Each lesson begins with my pet peeve, someone walks in and asks, “What are we doing, Natalie?”
“Wait, I’ll tell you all when everyone is in and seated.” Then if I introduce anything that requires a modicum of effort (anything other than reading our setwork) I’m met with, “Aahhh! Do we have to?”  Talk about a downer!  

Over the past few years I’ve been told by various children on various occasions that my lessons are varied and that we get more done in my lesson than in other subjects.  So presumably my lessons are fairly interesting and time is well-used.  Heavens, some children have even enjoyed my lessons!  But this class regularly threatens to dent my confidence in my teaching abilities.  The lesson is an exercise in motivation; I feel like a running coach running alongside exhausted runners going, “Come on, you can do it, just one more kilometer!”  Seriously, should this be necessary?  I mean can it really be that challenging to sit and complete a few sentences starting with capital letters and ending with full-stops?  Ok, maybe you need to underline an adjective; come on you can do it if you try!

Whatever work I introduce will be met with, “Aww, man!” or even, “This sucks!”. ( I never dared to talk to teachers like that!)  “I don’t want to read this book,” one told me the other day, by which time I was nearing the end of my rope.  “Fine, sit outside then,” I told him.

Luckily today was the last day of lessons, else this last incident might have tipped me over the edge.  I arranged for them to watch ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ as we had just finished reading the book.  The movie took up my lesson and another teacher’s lesson and, wait for it… went 5 minutes into second break!  Well several members of the Grade 4 Trade Union took great umbrage at this.  “Why do we have to have a shortened break?” they demanded.  Rights are rights after all!

And before it seems as if I’m judging other parents, my kids are driving me dilly too.  They whine about not having the computer games they want, or that their brother had one more slice of toast than they did, or because they have to feed the dogs. 

I feel it grating away at me and right now I feel raw from the weariness of it.  Sometimes it just takes too much energy to be upbeat around so much negativity.  Lord, renew my strength this holiday and help me not to lose it with my own kids.

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