I have a number of classes where if I'm not constantly in their faces,
students do nothing or worse, something disruptive. In some cases about
half the class falls into the unfocused category. I've tried just letting
them do nothing, but it bugs me. I have students tell me that they have to
work harder in art than in any other class! Some are quite outraged by
this. I kick kids out for bad behavior and somethimes they get suspended.
Sometimes I feel like the nazi art teacher. Students in these classes are
the most happy (?) when making or doing something with their hands. Some of
the worst academic students do fabulous art work. They are horribly noisy,
constantly interrupt eachother and won't listen to me. Somehow they manage
in the chaos. I do less well. Maybe I should try crackers or chocolate, but
I just can't bring myself to do it. Establishing relationships is hard when
kids end up suspended. Besides, I am so busy that I desperately need to
keep my space and my boundaries distinct. I'm definitely in survival mode.
My bottom line is that their work gets done. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea