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Tuesday - October 14, 1997

I really hate having my expectations shown to be no more than pipe dreams. Such is the case in Algebra I today. I thought that after our talk on Friday, the class might shape up a little. I explicitely said that if the class behaved, I would try stuff like class board work and groups. In other words, I would start treating 5th hour Algebra I like I treat 2nd hour Algebra II. On Monday, it looked like they just might pull it off. So I decided that today, I was going to try having the class work out their assignments on the board.
    It started out good. It's a lot more fun to actively participate in class than it is to just sit there and listen to the teacher recite the answers in a dry monotone. So I wasn't surprised when the class was a little excited. No big deal. I needed to quiet them down a few times, but it wasn't getting out of hand.
    The problem was that they started to treat the whole thing like a lark and I got real sick of telling them to shut up. The final straw was when one kid in the class (do I need to say it was Levi?) typed in 77358008 into his calculator and proceeded to show everybody around him what it spelled out upside down. That was it. If the kids around him had just shunned him, I might have let it slide with just a "talk" with Levi. But when the entire class (roughly) jumped on the bandwagon, I brought the entire thing to a screeching halt. My specific words were that "this class' attitude sucks." Not the most diplomatic words possible... but veryt effective. The class was as quiet as a morgue for the rest of the hour.
    So I'm not sure what to do anymore. I will probably try more board work later on, but it will take awhile before I can trust them enough to try. Unless something happens, I'm planning on taking this day by day...
    After talking about 5th hour, 4th and 2nd hour seem like a boring walk in the park. In Algebra I, I lectured on graphing linear equations. It was mostly review for the class so they caught on real quickly. In 4th hour, I did roughly what I did in 5th hour with one notable exception: 4th hour behaved. I may try some cooperative stuff in there one of these days.
    Maureen says I can start teaching 7th hour Geometry on Thursday. This should be interesting.

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