Most of this week, I have felt a little distant from students. I keep thinking about how I don’t want to bend over backwards for students. I want to let them face their consequences. I have a little more acceptance about how students are going to do.
This feels new to me. I typically am really excited to get to know students. Sure, I get frustrated with their absences, but I also want to help them to get back on track. I am still reaching out to students who have missed class or assignments. I don’t have the same energy about it though.
So far this year—it’s only week 2—I kind of feel like “I’m over it.” I’m “over” trying to force students to get back to class. I’m “over” trying to set boundaries and then breaking those boundaries to make sure students get points for their work.
I can’t quite tell if I am feeling burnt out or if I am reserving more energy for myself or if I am being more realistic. It’s likely all 3.
Classes went ok this week. Each is showing its personality a bit more. I have 2 classes that are really quiet. Discussions move slowly and very few people participate. In one of the classes, I kneeled in front of 2 students to ask them questions and I barely got a word or two out of them. That’s been a little tough.
I ended the week on a high note though, so that felt good. My last class of the week—a Tuesday/Thursday English 101 that starts at 9:30 am– is very talkative. They ask questions, socialize with each other (except a group of guys who sit on the left side of the room)—the discussions keep moving. It’s nice.
This week, we created our Class Practices which I define as our strategies for fulfilling our needs in class. I use a whole process to get there starting with asking how students want to feel in class and using a Nonviolent Communication process to figure out what needs we want to have fulfilled. Finally, we brainstorm strategies to use to meet those needs.
Well this class decided we’d like to have a Keurig so that we can make: hot coffee, iced coffee, hot chocolate, tea, cider and on and on. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure what need the class thinks this is going to fulfill. I’ll need to look it up . . . Oh, it looks like this is our strategy to help us feel happy and included and to fulfill our need for contentment and bonding.
Contrasted with strategies like “we will listen to each other” and “we’ll make sure to have group work,” this is likely the most expensive strategy any of my classes has suggested this semester. I’m happy to buy a Keurig, though, and I guess I need to have distilled water or some kind of filtered water so as not to mess up the coffee machine. Students are going to buy the pods for the different kinds of coffee, tea, etc. I’ll pick up some disposable cup; though it’s likely students will eventually bring reusable mugs.
The next step will be to let them drink coffee and wait . . . to see if there’s more laughter, more bonding, more contentment. I’ll let you know . . .
Peace Out (and In),