By the Numbers

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 17 2009

Day 7: “He got up to it last night.”

I had a classroom first today. A student vomited in class. And by vomited I don’t mean found a trash can or ran out of the door. I mean while sitting at his seat he just started throwing up to the point where he took out four desks, two bags and an aisle since he walked about five feet forward before round 2. Only then did he manage to find a trash can and make it to the hallway. The rest of the class was surprisingly good. They moved quickly to the other side of the room and continued with their work for the most part.

The frustrating part of this was the immediate buzz afterward, since half of the class seemed to know that, “He got up to it last night.” He had also entered the class, put his head down and complained that he had a headache when I made him sit up. Playing classroom detective, I tend to lean toward the “hangover” side of the argument. However, some of the more boisterous students are already playing the, “These teachers don’t listen to us when we’re actually sick,” game. However, it’s hard to listen when everyday at least three kids have headaches and can’t keep their head up and another 10 have bathroom emergencies. It is virtually impossible to tell, especially considering that no one is ever supposed to leave the room. This one who wasn’t playing the game certainly is not going to exempt everyone else from the rules.

Test prep had been going well up until today. Of course, up until today we had been learning how to add and subtract negative numbers on a number line and use order of operations. The difficulty jumped to practice problems and the behavior went down. It’s like anything else, the more difficult the lesson is, the more behavior problems you will have. This is concerning me because everything is going to seem difficult compared to the no math class my sophomores had last year. We’ll see how this works.

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    Teaching Math on the West Side of Chicago

    High School

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