One of the things that I am struggling the most with is management, and it is incredibly frustrating because I felt like it was ONE thing I had mostly understood in the States. I got to the point where I could charm and entertain a group with ease, and manage a classroom filled with students with almost no problem.
I stood in my last class of the week, a group of fifth graders that either are about three levels behind the other fifth graders or just have some secret class plan to trick me. I stood at the front of the room and I realized that what I had been seriously upset and frustrated about the entire period just wasn't their fault.
There are many reasons that the crazy behavior of 5C is not their fault, but a primary one is the complete lack of respect for these children in regards to an educational environment. I thought that packing 32 students into my classroom last year was an insane task. We were often very crowded and I thought it amazing that my kids could get any learning done in the room.
My 5C class numbers 36, and they are literally packed into a white-washed room that is one-third the size of my last classroom. They are expected to learn without any sort of environment to support it- I literally have to have kids create an aisle to get in or out of the classroom. They are expected to stay quiet in a room that drives me crazy- I DREAD the two classes that I have in there each week. They are expected to remain focused in a place that is teeming with the beautiful energy of 10 year old students that should be allowed to be harnessed rather than squelched.
And this is just one example. The first graders are easy to manage- they just gaze up at my face as I sing and sing and sing and sometimes draw on the board and dance and sing some more. They smile and they are easily charmed. The older kids are easy(er) because they understand English at a higher level. But there are middle levels, a lot of them.
I miss being able to live out my ideals. My ideals about how school should be done, how students should be treated (according to development), how management should be handled. My ideals about myself as a teacher and the kind of classroom environment I want to foster.
At what point do I lay these down and teach with what I have... or is this a battle I should honestly just continue to fight?