It's a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.
—JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Today is Wednesday. Over the past couple of months, Wednesday has become my least favorite day of the week. All of my least favorite students gather on Wednesday, which makes the day something of an endurance test. I've written about this before.
Perhaps I'm just a lazy, spoiled teacher, but I admit that I do prefer students who are well-behaved, receptive to new ideas, and relatively smart. It helps if they have bright, sunny personalities and are blessed with a sense of humor. Today's crop, though, are exactly the opposite of what I wish for: seventh-grader Sam is so relentlessly goofy that I have to explain everything to him twice or three times; fourth-grader Maximus is a little punk with an attitude problem who can quickly shut down if he's in an uncooperative mood; and fourth-grader Iblis... well, Iblis is loud, rude, and basically an asshole. I'm normally a smiling, energetic teacher, but on Wednesdays I, too, shut down. If I allow myself to betray too much humor, Maximus and Iblis will take that fact and run with it: if I joke around, they'll consider my behavior license for them to joke around, too. Give an inch and they take a mile.
I think the problem is that, with these three kids, I'm not so much teaching them as managing them, like a babysitter. That's probably what makes the experience so unpleasant. I'm reminded of the expression "like herding cats." That's what Wednesdays are like: herding cats. And occasionally wrestling them.
Today is worse than most Wednesdays, though, because I've got an e-meeting to attend in half an hour, which means the work day starts almost four hours earlier than usual. Lovely.