August 13, 2008

Bitch Badge

I need a badge to wear on my arm for the next three weeks that simply says "BITCH". Here's why:

I go back to work next Monday as a 7th grade special education teacher. That alone should send shutters of fear down your back. It should. It sends them down my spine whenever I think about it.

I learned a long time ago the dos and don't of teaching, and how I have earned the honor of needing a Bitch Badge. Here are some bits of wisdom for you.
  1. Don't try to be their friend. In the end, they will own you for the WHOLE year and never respect you or what you are trying to teach them.
  2. Routines are a good thing. Without a daily routine, they have no idea how to enter a classroom and get focused on the activities for the day.
  3. Structure, structure, structure! Know what you are going to do and have 5 ways to get it done.
  4. Don't let them get you off focus. They love this one. Good conversations are ok every once in a while, but if they know how to get your focus off, they will use and abuse it. I am very guilty of this one!
  5. Discipline or How I earn the Bitch Badge. Have rules, stick to them. You commit an offense, you pay the price. Have your rules posted and go through them every day for a week at the start of class. It sounds redundant, but it works when they say "I didn't know the rules"
I am sure there are more, but I am going to focus on #5 for a minute. I am just going to get it out of the way and say it. I am a bitch for the first three weeks of school. I am tired, I am not in my routine sleeping pattern, I am cranky, possibly hung over and just a plain old bitch. I don't let the kids get away with ANYTHING! I call them out on their behaviors, and make them pay the consequences. It lets the bad ones know right away whose the boss and the on the fence ones appreciate you more when you let up.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a complete bitch, just very strict and press on the rules. You have to be nice some of the time, right? When they have a good grasp on the rules and runnings of the classroom, I let up and let them see the real me. The non-bitchy, fun loving, weird, humorous me. Every year I get at least one student who says "Your mean on purpose during the first week of school, aren't you?" I say, "No, not mean. Just making sure you know the rules and how seventh grade works".

*I am really not a bitch. Only the ones who try to break the rules end up calling you that because you made them suffer the consequences of their actions. I am actually a really nice person. They just don't see it that way.

**Would you be interested in a post that goes over all of the lovely names I have been called throughout my 11 years of teaching? Some of them are pretty good**


  1. I'd be interested in hearing about all the names. I bet I called my 11th grade algebra teacher about half of them!

  2. I taught some freshman year meteorology courses for a couple years in grad school. I tried to be their friends and watched how it kind of got out of control.

    The last semester I was cold as ice.

    Their grades were better and I was less stressed.

    Weather Moose

  3. You are correct, they don't need you as a friend. They need you as a teacher and mentor. But you can be personable and friendly without being their friend. Maybe the use of the word friend is not right. Maybe you find the place of being a friend but not a peer.

    I have done some teaching both of adults and children. I also learned to be strict. I found that once they got used to it we were actually on a more "friendly" basis. I think it is because we all knew the expectations and respected one another.

    Being strict means different things to different people. I for example liked a little bit of life in my students. I didn't care for rudeness. So I would be strick about some things and not others.


Your input would be greatly appreciated!!!