It could be my style of teaching, these particular kids, this specific Monday, or that I didn’t notice it happening this soon when I was teaching this time last year. These are all possibilities. All I know is that it’s starting. The kids are beginning to twitch.
Nothing terrible, not yet. I haven’t had students defy me outright or break a bone or puke on their desk. But there have been twitches. A whisper here while I’m talking, a zoned out face there while we’re working. The twitches that send ripples through the current of my classroom. It’s as if October-type-behavior is being pulled closer, quicker.
Today, I pulled two boys out of the classroom during class because they couldn’t process that the Evil Teacher Eyes were directed towards them (three times), and that my statements to the class about being appropriately silent were directed only towards them (again, three times when everyone else is half asleep because it’s first freaking period). I held back another class for a full minute – I add ten seconds to the board every time they’re talking when they’re not supposed to talk, so I stopped the class six times over all – because the class continued to talk when I’d explicitly asked for individual work.
This is all normal behavior.
After all, they’re in middle school. They’re, generally speaking, pretty twitchy human beings. I expect this.
But it’s so soon in the year for them to twitch like this. It worries me. I don’t remember behavior like this last year. But, if I really sit back and think about it, pretty much all of August and September of my first year teaching was basically a blur of stress and panic. Kids very well could have been behaving like this, and I’d probably just have been too frantic to notice or deal with it.
Either way, it looks like I’m going to have to be stricter as the weeks go on, to make sure expectations are clear and followed. I can see how easily my first year could be repeated if I’m not careful enough, and first year was pretty rough for a good majority of the school year. If it’s at all within my power, that twitchiness will be stamped out by September.