Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

The principal at TMS2 sent out a memo a few days ago reminding the staff that the holidays are a particularly difficult time of year for our students, and asking us to be especially vigilant about emotional and behavioral issues. As I was reading this memo with a colleague, she shook her head sadly. "December is always the worst month for behavior issues around here," she said. "Hands down."

I'm agreeing with them these days. I've had three students on suspension this week, including one who basically asked to be placed on suspension and another who, in light of his issues with New York's Finest as of late, probably shouldn't also be fighting in school. I've had to change seating arrangements four times so far this month to accommodate the shifting allegiances among my darlings and avoid bullying and bad-mouthing that threatens to disrupt every single class.

Then, too, I have a student who just lost a parent three weeks ago and another who is the victim of the aforementioned bullying who continue to do their work, speak kindly, and manage to not act like fools, at least not for the forty-five minutes that I have them. And I admire the heck out of those kids who, if they are not quite leaders, at least avoid the pernicious position of being one more follower.

But it is definitely not the most wonderful time of year for trying to handle students' many issues, both the real and imagined ones.

Are you finding that your own darlings are slightly tough to be around this month?
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