Quite frankly, I am experiencing one of the absolute worst school years of my teaching career. The administration at my site - presumably on the orders of the uppy-ups at the District Office - have instituted a kinder, gentler discipline policy that is tearing my campus apart by putting the inmates in charge of the asylum. The discipline policy is called "Restorative Justice," and it involves discouraging us teachers from suspending students from class for mere "chronic talking" and other seemingly small disruptions, and if a student is indeed removed from a classroom, that student is to receive a firm talking-to from our vice principal before being returned to the very same class during the very same period from which that student was removed.
I have six teaching periods in all. Of those, four of them, I have to admit, are pretty darn good to pleasantly tolerable. Another is barely tolerable to unbearable, depending on what mood they are in. Then there is 7th period, which is a zoo full of feral animals. I have never seen anything like it in my decade of teaching. There are days where I am unable to actually teach anything until we are 20+ minutes into the period, and even then, I get out about 10 seconds of instruction before I have to stop for 20 seconds as the incessant chatter dies down enough for me to get in another 10 seconds of instruction before the chatter shuts me down for another 20 seconds, and on and on and on.
This has been my daily grind since the middle of August, and I don't see it getting any better all the way to May.
Couple that mess with my administration's enthusiastic embrace of the incoming Common Core standards, a squishy teaching philosophy called Equity and Access, and my school's adoption of the Middle Years Program, which is the middle school/early high school version of the International Baccalaureate program, and I don't know which way is up.
I get home from work every day so exhausted, all I want to do after I eat dinner and help my wife put our kids down for bed is go to sleep myself. Hence the absolute dearth of blogging so far this fall. I have so many blogging ideas constantly swimming in my head, and I barely have the energy to sit down and write them down.
This is one of those school years where I find myself wondering what else I could do for a living.