Friday, November 03, 2006


Well, I've finally made it through to Friday after a long week. I quipped today more than once that every day this week felt like a Monday. What I've found is that sometime between the start of the school year and Christmas you hit a wall. It gets colder and darker, attendence begins to dip, a few kids start acting up and you just hit a wall.

My first year of teaching in Fort Smith, it seemed "the wall" came on my second day in the classroom. A couple years later and it seemed late September/early October was the time of "the wall". I remind myself of this during long weeks. At least now it seems I have pushed "the wall" back into November which I suppose is a good thing.

Not that this week was a total wash-out for me. Some of my stress I know is self-imposed. I found that in the lead-up to our soccer tournament last year there were 101 details and last minute things to take care of but once I was actually in Iqaluit, we had a blast and I definitely wouldn't change that.

The most challenging thing for me at the moment is dealing with the one grade 9 class I teach in the afternoons. Its been 5 years since I've taught this grade so perhaps I'm just a bit rusty. They can be a handful at times and I know the other teachers that work with them also are facing the same challenges at the moment. I think what frustrates me the most is how the small minority of students who actually want to work are losing out. Losing out because I can't even keep some of the kids in the classroom to begin with and then some just want to wander around the class and cause disruption. This afternoon was the first time in almost 2 years I thought a student was going to punch me. Not that it would have done much damage. I'm at least a foot taller than this girl. But still, I find the outright defiance, insubordination and childishness a little much to bear with on a Friday. I'm not sure what I'd do if I had to deal with some of them for an entire school day instead of just a 40-minute afternoon period. The past couple days that class has felt like a 40 hour period.

We're going to nip it in the bud pretty soon. Several of my colleagues have reached the boiling point with them so there will be some big changes coming up soon. So I can calm myself down now and breathe a little.

Times like this I'm reminded of the e-mail my mother wrote me the other night. There was a bad fire back in my hometown. A couple young girls in grade 9 and 10 didn't make it out of their apartment. So I guess I really have no problems in the grand scheme of things.