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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer Job, vol. XXII: the Boys Drool edition

It's the middle of the first week of second session and I am finally feeling ready to be done here. There are many flaws in this system, the first of them being the fact that the only people who teach here are also the only people who live with students, the second being that when I am on-duty, I have 16-17 hour days. The combination herein means that I am only doing my job about half as well as I would if I only had one of those responsibilities as part of what I do here. We are all fatigued. We have not had a full day off in two weeks, and we are dealing with an entirely new and different crop of kids.

It is mildly satisfying to be able to "do over" my lesson plans from just a few weeks ago, and I'm feeling good about the changes that I have made in light of what went well then. My acting class this session is quiet, serious, enthusiastic, and charming. So far, it is already an easier and more manageable group than last session. I am working with the golden number of students--12--which is a huge improvement from last session's 17. Twelve is divisible by oh so many numbers, whereas seventeen was always impossible to divide in a way that made any sense or felt consistent. That alone is a great change from last session.

My new improv class is a battlefield. I am at full capacity with 16 kids. Eight of them are 16 year old boys who know each other from previous years here, are combative and disrespectful. I am managing them as if they are kindergarteners, which it always feels like they are. I know that they are in the class because they want to be, but it is my great task to try to make sure they actually learn something, rather than just let them destruct and distract.

Monday, every single activity I attempted to have them do failed. I was so frustrated and pissed that I let them go 10 minutes early. I went into class yesterday with a plan to get a better idea of what they wanted from the class and determined to implement a 3 strikes system: one strike is a warning, two means they sit out of the exercise and three means they sit out of the entire day's lesson and I speak with their RAs. Yesterday was an improvement to Monday, and today was an improvement to yesterday. They seem to be a group that really wants to DO, which I totally understand and even appreciate. Still, my challenge will be to make sure these boys do not hinder the learning of anyone else in the class.

They really don't have any idea who they're messing with.

1 comment:

gilsonwalker said...

Oh geez Annie. You are no doubt doing an incredible job! Love you so much and send you big, big love!