Twenty-five freshman boys and girls, ninety minutes, 2-4 grade levels below their peers, the last two periods of a 13 period day…all of these things equal one tired and frustrated first year teacher.

I’ve tried so many things. I called parents, I wrote referrals, I compromised, I gave a pop quiz, I dropped the curriculum and tried current events, I turned the lights on an off, I yelled (numerous times), I kept them after class, I started talking notes on each student, I warned them they were being graded on class work, but nothing has worked.

I keep hearing you’ll be fine, they’re just kids, but these kids can be incredibly difficult. They look at me with disgust; they glare and snicker. I have to fight to keep my cool. I’m struggling to not tell them my true opinion of them during those moments.

They are rude and more disrespectful than any other children I think I have ever met. They disrespect me, as well as each other.

After one of my best students in the class raised his hand to answer yet another question, I heard a cough from across the room; it was a cough with the phrase “your gay” underlying it. I gave the kid a look to let him I know I heard it, but let it be at that.

Two kids had a verbal argument. They threw insults back and forth as I asked them to quiet down. One student blatantly cursed over and over again while speaking to me in front of the entire class – without even flinching. Am I wrong to say that, “I remember when I was young, and I never would have gotten away with such a thing?”

I speak about these kids and I am asked, “do they care?”

Do they care?

There is so much more that goes on in my day, and so much of it is wonderful and inspiring, but this last class makes my head hurt and my spirit suffer.