Friday, October 9, 2009


This is how I felt on Thursday. Ever have one of those days where you feel like if one more person speaks to you, you might, in all probability, explode? Yeah. That was me. Except I could not avoid 25 voices saying "Mrs. Lewis! Mrs. Lewis! Mrs. Lewis!" It was one of those days where you turn to the kids and say " I am changing my name, and I am NOT telling you what it is!" And then they just stare at you. The main problem, I have come to realize, is that I have a very, very young class. Last year, I had a dream class. They were amazing. Frustrating sometimes, but really, really amazing. They were also more mature. Which makes a HUGE difference. This year, my kids are really young and really immature. As a result, THEY DO NOT LISTEN! To ANYTHING!!!!  I know, 9 and ten year olds are not known for their powers of observation and keen insight as well as a strong sense of paying attention, but at 10 years old, you should be able to do the following directions:

1. Put your pencil down.
2. Place your bubble sheet on TOP of your test, face up.
3. When you have done that, look at me.

and they can't. They are incapable of COPYING an overhead. They cannot walk in line. They cannot even line up. You know line up? Where you stand behind the person in front of you? Behind? The direction you learned in kindergarten? Some days I feel like I have room full of Golden Retrievers. Really enthusiastic, jumping all over the place, super sweet,  but essentially lobotomized.

     I thought it was me. I thought "OK. We need to change tactics, we need to go over rules and do more listening activities." I thought maybe I had not made myself clear enough. But last Thursday, not one but two teachers who were working with my kids said "What is wrong with them? How have you not torn your hair out?" It was a comforting conversation.

By the end of the day, however, I had turned into Mean Mrs. Lewis. Normally, Mrs. Lewis is pretty loud, and kind of brusque, but she will joke and fool around with her kids. She loves her kids and will hug them, high-five them, and talk about interesting things with them. Mean Mrs. Lewis is a cranky, very loud, not very nice lady who takes over. And being around her is no joke. She snaps, she snarls and she makes the classroom a generally unhappy place to be. Mean Mrs. Lewis makes her appearance when she feels like she has repeated herself 52,000 times and has not been heard once. She shows up after regular Mrs. Lewis has been interrupted, tugged on, talked-back to and ignored for the better part of the day. Mean Mrs. Lewis makes her kids sit at their desks doing solo, silent worksheet after worksheet after worksheet. Mean Mrs Lewis says things like "Do not even THINK about raising your hand unless you are bleeding or there is a piece of bone sticking through your skin. If you are going to barf, use the trash can. I do NOT want to hear about it." At the end of the day, I said to my kids "You have two choices. We can have another day like today and tomorrow we will do nothing but worksheets while you sit at your desks in silence, or you can decide that you are going to listen, pay attention and follow directions and we can have a nice day. It's up to you . Think about it tonight. Now pack up."

Today, everyone played on the computer, everyone got to make-up their work and hand it in, we went outside for recess, we watched a science movie and Mrs. Lewis did not have to raise her voice once. It was a lovely day. A fact I pointed out to them several times over the course of the eight-hour time-block we are together. Now I have a feeling that Mean Mrs. Lewis will be making an appearance again, but I don't think it will be in the near future.

P.S. - Today was picture day. It was 96 degrees with 98% humidity. We had pictures taken after PE (in Florida there are no gyms so PE is outside) and after lunch. Which was pizza. I cannot wait to see the photos.


  1. BRAVO! Mrs. Lewis. In my little experience with children and all of it with children under 3, I have found that consequences and choice is key. "You can go sit in Time-out for NOT listening, or you can come here, put your shoes on and we can go to the playground. Choice is yours. Works every time.

  2. Oh -- what kind of teacher would ask you what is wrong with your class???? That is just plain mean and not very thoughtful. I hope I never have to teach with someone like that!!! It would not make for the funnest time!