Yesterday was a horrific day at work. I got very little accomplished and my day began with total mutiny. I knew it would be challenging returning from a 5 month maternity leave in November when the students are exhibiting their "holiday behaviors," but my homeroom class truly won the award for most disrespectful.
In the weeks leading up to my return to teaching, I had nightmares pretty regularly: I would give the class a directive and they would just continue to talk and do whatever they wanted. I would wake up freaked out and tell myself, "it's not really going to be that bad." Needless to say, my nightmares are becoming my reality.
The kids were in a pissy mood yesterday because the rest of the region got a snow day and because of the geography of our district, we did not. We got some ice and a light dusting, so we only had a 2-hour delay. The first 20 minutes of the day is Homeroom and there is a school-wide expectation that students are engaged in silent sustained reading during that time once the teacher had done morning announcements. Yesterday, we also had locker seals presentations. My class is one of the largest 7/8 homerooms in the school ---25 kids. Most homerooms are between 12 and 15. It took forever for me to do the announcements because kids kept socializing with their neighbors and if they are talking, I stop, stare at them, and wait for them to figure it out before continuing. I then explained that it was going to be difficult to award all the locker seals in one day, but I would try. In order to do this, I needed their cooperation. They should be reading silently and wait for their name to be called for locker seals.
They ignored me and continued to talk. Only 2/3 of the kids even had a book to read! This is a school-wide expectation. They know they need a book every morning. I restated the expectation. I'm sure my voice sounded a bit irritated by that point. I explained again that in order for me to do locker seals, I needed they to be silently reading. One lovely little girl had the balls to look me directly in the eye and say, "yeah.....like that's ever going to happen" with her best 13 year old sarcasm. It was at that moment that I snapped. It is never okay to yell at students, but I did it. I told her, in front of everyone, that it most certainly WAS going to happen even if I had to get the principal himself to come in.
This awful moment has made me physically sick ever since. Honestly, I am not sure how I am going to repair the damage done. I'm already known as a pretty "mean" and unpopular teacher. I am okay with that to a certain extent, but yelling is something I am working hard on eliminating in my family interactions and I don't want it to bleed into my work as well.