Since so many of my troublesome kids failed my class last term (no surprise, they couldn't shut up and study) I started this term in full on scary teacher mode and seem to have terrified a number of my meeker students, especially the new ones. But the usual suspects? Same old behavior.
We use something called a success contract as a means of establishing consequences for inappropriate behavior. A bunch of students started the term on contracts and two have repeatedly violated the terms of their enrollment in my class by talking, yelling, name-calling, and even an episode which could easily be considered assault. So I've kicked two students out and am hoping that this will have a positive impact on my class and we can get down to some serious English now.
I feel really disappointed. I so wanted to get through to these kids, to help them grow up and succeed and thought that if I was patient and firm something would change. I am sure that these two have had nothing but trouble in their lives--the 17 year old boy, I know, is fatherless, and both come from an ethnic group that has suffered decades of discrimination in Russia. Unlike other Russian speaking students we see, the kids from this group have much lower academic skills which no doubt reflects, at least partially, inferior schools. But I can't sacrifice the rest of the class to these kids' issues. While I am looking forward to a more focused class, I am also really sad that I am just one more person failing these kids.