I greeted them at the door with good mornings, and some of them tried to reject my greeting. I encouraged them to take seats, get started on the do now, and some
As for the girl who went to the bathroom and returned to find a penis drawn on her book, I encouraged her to stand up for herself. Demand respect! You don't have to tolerate that disrespect. I also told the boys at that table, that's not how you treat people. How would you feel if... you know, the usual what if it was your sister, mother, auntie?
There was a table of girls with chips on their shoulders who couldn't seem to take my gentle direction. Take out your notebook. Let's get started. Who here needs a book? Immediate attitudes. I gave them copies of Rumblefish anyway. They were going to read, if I had anything to do with it. At least, I was going to encourage them the best I could, despite what they were showing me.
Yet, the students did not learn. I suggested to the other teacher, who was relatively new to the room, separating the students and placing two groups on each side of the room of students who want to and are ready to learn. That way the trying-to-move-forward energy is spread out, and the two teachers could then continue to "teach the class."
At the end of what-felt-like-several-periods, I stood at the door and dismissed the class. I told them have a "good day" or "have a good morning" whether they wanted it or not. Just like they could give and did give resistance, I gave positivity and encouragement.
I believe in spirits at times, and clearly there is a spirit of resistance, of not learning, in that class.
After dismissing the students, I hurried happily back to the sixth grade wing. Thankfully my challenging students are still genearlly respectful and open to learning.