The Honeymoon Phase is Over in the Classroom

While driving to Prince Edward Island in Canada for our honeymoon, our car began making strange noises and sputtering quite a bit.  It finally became difficult to drive.  It turned out that the transmission was shot.  So, we had to cancel our honeymoon to have the car fixed.  For my wife and I, our honeymoon phase never happened, or did it never end?  In the classroom each year, there is a phase of calm and serenity that lasts anywhere from a day to a few weeks.  This is the time of the year when the students try to figure out what they can and can’t do.  They are nice and kind to each other and the teacher.  They don’t generally test the boundaries during this period.  It’s a really awesome time for teachers.  But, we know what follows and so we cautiously wait for the ball to drop and the storm to arrive.

Today marked the end of the sixth grade honeymoon phase.  The boys began to show their true colors today.  They started to realize how much they dislike some of their peers.  They weren’t afraid to shout out or share their negative feelings.  Today, the peace ended, and reality set in.  Not everything smells like roses and camp fires.

During Humanities class, we saw the storm begin to take form.  Two students sitting next to each other at a table, continued to bicker with each other during the lesson.  One student turned to the other and said, “Stop it!” several times.  The other student moved his chair away from that student and began taking off his shoes and playing with them.  This too upset that other student who continued to share his frustrations aloud while my co-teacher spoke.  Then, two other students began to join in on the twister of confusion.  One student kept saying, “Stop!” to his table partner.  Then, the other student raised his hand and called me over during the lesson.  He refused to use words and just pointed to his partner’s chair.  Apparently it was too close to his.  Really?  That’s a big deal?  What about the starving people around the world?  What about the wars and abuses people are facing everywhere?  Aren’t those the big issues over which we should complain?  No, today, in the classroom it was about a chair that was about to cross a line.  This bickering continued throughout the class.

While both groups of students were addressed and the issues dealt with, this little nit picky stuff is a sure sign that the honeymoon has ended.  After a month of beautiful weather, ironically, it rained today, perhaps to signify the beginning of the normal school year.  Ohh, how I miss the honeymoon stage of the academic year.  For a week or so, I believed I had the perfect class.  While perfection doesn’t exist, it’s nice to think that things are going smoothly for at least a little while.  But not anymore.  Now begins the challenging process of teaching the boys how to appropriately coexist.