Grouchier and More Evil Teacher

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Victoria is a Navy wife and a new mom.  Dahvie is an incarcerated Chicago gang member.  They write letters back and forth.  In this post, Victoria describes how her patience is running thin in the classroom and her struggles to understand her students’ motivations.


Victoria: My patience is wearing thin. I swear each day I become a grouchier and more evil teacher.  Everything gets on my nerves. The kids just won’t do their homework. It’s miserable. I just want to shake them until they sit down and do their homework and turn it in on time.  But they don’t even….like remotely seem to care about it. It’s funny because when I was a student I cared a TON about my grades. Like, I would have been devastated if I had ever missed an assignment.  Not these kids. I’m slowly getting to be better about accepting the fact that they get the choice of whether or not they want a good grade. Like, they have free will, and I should respect that. I just hate it, that’s all.

Dahvie: Maybe you could give them something rewarding for completing they homework, something slight.  Then up it a lil for the better grade.  Something beneficial for them to motivate them to do they homework.  Cuz me as a student, I never cared about homework.  I be too busy, but when it was something to gain from it, like tickets, trips, whatever, I made sure I was in the race, then I won sometimes.  Now it’s a pride thing.  I need to keep winning.  You as a kid; had self motivation.  Everybody don’t have that.

Victoria: There’s a lot of insight to this.  I’m so stuck in my own mind, in my own experience.  Growing up, I was a self-starter, I had a lot of motivation to get things done and do things well.  Lots of students don’t have that.  I didn’t get it when I was in school, I still don’t get it now.  I like the idea of having a contest for finishing homework.  Get into their competitive nature.  Because I tell you what, if I’ve learned anything about middle schoolers, it’s that they’re COMPETITIVE.  At the core of everything, though, is that I need to have a positive attitude.  I can’t let this get to me, can’t let this make me grouchy.  I need to think like you think—solution-oriented, positive, working with who these kids are, instead of getting angry over what they’re not.