A Hundred or So Ways to Get an Ulcer...Year Two
Thursday, May 13, 2004
  It's probably bad karma to thank God for children being suspended from school. I am probably going to hell for it. Hell of course would be the first three months of my teaching career played on a loop for eternity.

Last week, there was a barrage of fights all in one day. The first fight began before the first bell of the day rang. I believe there were five fights total. Several students were arrested, an alarming sum of 15 were suspended. Those fifteen plus another fifteen random suspensions meant that this week, approximately 10% of the student body was on suspension.

I was appalled by this fact. Appalled until I realized how much material I was getting through. Appalled until I realized the positive attitude that permeated the halls. I was appalled until I realized I was getting to use some of those creative activities from my portfolio in the classroom.

I have always been a positive thinker. That is why I was able to take my apprehension and turn it to elation. Instead of being appalled by the fact that 10% of the students are chronic troublemakers, I was elated to realize that 90% of the school is composed of some really great kids who want to learn.

This week I have been able to have real class discussions. I have had the amazing opportunity to get to know my students better, and they have had the chance to get to know more about me.

We discussed current events and compared them to the novels we are reading. I have students who are no longer afraid to look smart in front of their peers. They don't have to fear looking soft in front of the gangbangers they have to share the streets with after school.

Some of my shier students have really come out of their shells this week.

It really breaks my heart to think about how things will be next week when the suspensions are over. I am not looking forward to interrupting class discussions to tell students to stop throwing garbage out of the window. I am not excited about the fights I will have to break up. It will kill me to see my butterflies run back into their cocoons.

I am not looking forward to the butterflies in my stomach to reappear every morning.  
Sunday, May 09, 2004
  Sorry for the lack of updates this week. I needed my evenings and my weekend to compose myself from last week. I can already tell that the final six weeks of the year are going to be the most interesting of all.  
A glimpse into the mind of a Chicago inner-city high school teacher. Email: ChicagoTeacher@hotmail.com

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