April 20, 2010

mondays, mondays, mondays

when i think about the less happy days of this school year, i think there has definitely been a pattern to which day of the week they have fallen on--MONDAYS. it seems like every monday the kids are chatty, someone is "bothering" someone else, and i am so incredibly inarticualte with every direction that i can barely get my point across. yikes. yesterday was no exception!!

The chattyness i can handle, by this point--and let's be honest, they are MUCH MUCH MUCH better than they were at the beginning of the year (that, or my tolerance has sky rocketed...). What I have had way more than enough of, though, is the "bothering each other." The true culprits here are my lovely ladies.

Yes, we have some serious mean girl drama in 5th grade. It started about a month ago with some jealousy on behalf of some of the girls regarding who another student was spending most of her time with (a common tale...). Well, instead of ignoring this or socializing with new students, the girls who felt "betrayed" in this situation decided to (metaphorically) draw a line in the sand and ask the girls in the class to take sides. You can imagine how that went...

By the time I had multiple girls in tears, I turned the situation over to the social worker who did her best to work things out with the girls, but the story obviously doesn't end there! In the following weeks, mysterious writing about my girls started showing up on the walls of stalls in the girls bathroom. Now I know without a grain of doubt in my mind who was responsible for this, and all the kids have confirmed my suspicions, yet without a witness or confession (these girls can lie through their teeth without cracking, it's ridiculous), unfortunately there was no consequence. Man oh man.

Following the bathroom writing we have had to institute a "group" and "buddy" bathroom procedure so that multiple people can be checking for writing before and after they use the bathroom. Seriously, I can't make this stuff up.

Well, the bathroom writing has toned down, but the girl drama perseveres. These girls are just plain being MEAN. We're talking insults, manipulation, and even hand to hand contact on a couple instances. If they are like this now, just IMAGINE what junior high will be like in a few years.
The worst part about it all (well, besides the amount of TIME it has occupied for me, between parent meetings, phone calls, and discussions with the asst. principal and social worker...oh, and just THINKING about it...) is that all I want to do is help these kids. I am so attached to so many of them, and want the best for every single one. Yet I feel so, so, so unbelieveably powerless. Nothing I say or do is sinking in. I am doing my best to prevent opportunities for this behavior, but I am not always around and have limited control.

I have done my absolute best this year to create a positive classroom atmosphere, but this has happened anyways. I have to wonder, is there something, anything I could have done to prevent this? Or is it inevitable... I guess more importantly, what can I do to make it stop???

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