I’m struggling, people.  Struggling with classroom management AND with teaching physics content.  I thought teaching for 5 years in 2 different inner city schools would have taught me something about how to manage my classroom, but nope.  I’m dealing with a problem that is completely new to me – seniors who claim I can’t teach and therefore loudly blame me for their low grades during class. There is some truth to this – I’ve never taught physics before and I’m figuring it out as I go.  I get most of my materials and curriculum from well established sites such as The Physics Classroom but I’ve had a hard time finding labs that work with the supplies I have at my school.  This means I may invent labs and assignments that don’t work out (crazy acceleration calculations like -33.89 m/s/s for a free falling object!).   The flip side?  These seniors are not coming in for HW help, they’re not doing the assignments or test corrections or any of the many supports I offer inside and outside of class.  They’re goofing off in class and fighting me on simple rules like cell phones, uniform and staying quiet during the entry routine.

I’m exhausted, mentally and physically.  Do I still really like teaching?  Honestly, I don’t really know anymore.

People say that if you are down, you should fake a smile because even faking a smile helps reduce stress.  So here is my fake smile of the day.  the face

This on the other hand, is what my face really looks like lately.  I know that I typically have a “resting bitchy face” (it’s true – bartenders will actually pass over me because I look unfriendly and mean).  But lately my RBF has been a bit more turned down.

the face3

the face2

Nothing new on the outfit front – all old reliables.

glasses: warby parker – shirt and high-riser jeans: madewell – belt: gap – shoes: worishofer – necklaces: etsy and f21

13 thoughts on “The Face

  1. sorry you are down about teaching. You know those seniors are trying to break you! Do NOT let them. I don’t know if this will work but could you assign the students small groups and have them teach a concept, i.e. Terminal velocity, deceleration, etcetera. Do you now what’s worse than disrespectful seniors? …nothing. Yikes! Ps check out modeling curriculum too. That helps me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 29 years teaching experience here. Some advice: don’t take it personally, remember, they aren’t your own kids so they will be gone in 7 months, and document, document, document: every test correction you offer, every time you offer homework help, etc. Focus on the good kids. Sure, it may be only one or two per class but make sure they know you appreciate their efforts. It will encourage them and make you feel better. And remember: you know you are a good teacher. We all have a difficult year once in a while. Finally, only six weeks until Thanksgiving break. Hey, there’s always a silver lining, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dear erika,

    I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now and am always so impressed with not just your wardrobe but how you continue to break awful stereotypes about teachers. (How is “frumpy” still a thing to describe teachers??) We can be young, cool, badass, edgy etc… we can wear what we want to wear and be creative people with eccentric personalities! So thank you for that. You inspire me more than you know ❤

    P.s. I am student teaching now and am in constant doubt of whether or not I am right for this. maybe it's normal for a 20-something but i think i'm on the struggle bus right along with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is only my second year teaching, but I can second what Glenda said about having an off year. From what I’ve heard from other veteran teachers at my school, every now and then a difficult group of kids comes along. Have you spoken to other teachers about the seniors? Maybe they were also difficult as juniors/sophomores/freshmen.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. thanks for the support all! It really has helped reading all this encouragement.

    A bit of an update: I’ve been checking in with other teachers about their experience with this group of kids and I’m hearing very similar stories. I’ve implemented some new tighter structures and and chipping away at getting them in line a bit at a time.

    still hanging on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just remember to celebrate the small victories. Sometimes we want huge changes overnight and that so rarely happens. You are in this career for the long haul so be good to yourself. Your future students need you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Erika,
    I have been reading your blog ever since I decided to change careers and go into teaching. I also moved from CA to the east coast to the mountain west.

    I completely second what girl person said! As a student teacher seeking inspiration and guidance all of the teacher blogs either have intense religious undertones or are full of super tacky/super frumpy clothes.

    Your blog entries are always a bright spot in my day. You are my inspiration! Sending positive energy your way!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Science360.com has a few short & sweet videos – The Science of NFL Football – on Newton’s Laws. It’s interesting to the sports enthusiasts in the room and explains the concepts simply. I have some labs, etc. if you’re interested; I can email them to you or something. I personally can’t wait to move on to astronomy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been there. It’s mentally exhausting and the only thing you want to do when you get home afters your day at school is to curl up on your bed and sleep (and possibly call in sick the following day so that you can wallow in your misery).
    I hope the fact that this class behaves the same way with other teachers was good for your morale. If you work out a common structure, it could send the message to the kids that they’re not going to “win”. United front and all that.
    I’ve been teaching for 7 years now so I still consider myself a “young” teacher with not a lot of experience. It can take me 2 or 3 months to have a difficult class well in hand but then I can reap the rewards for the rest of the year. Any time we lost on discipline and other rules setting/discussions during those ‘set-up’ months, we can gain back once things are going the way they should.
    Good luck! You’re a great teacher and you dress beautifully. These seniors won’t resist you for much longer 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. At the risk of pissing you off, which I would hate, I’m going to give you some advice given to me when I started teaching in a BED self contained class. Use your clothing to assert authority. If the kids see you as dressing like them (I love your style , but you dress like many seniors do when out of school uniform) it puts you on their level. You may need to start your management style with a teacher uniform of sorts, save the skinny jeans and short skirts for off duty. Having said that, kudos to you for even trying with high school kids….not for me, I like the little ones.


    1. totally not pissed off! One of the first things I heard in my credential classes was to not dress like the students – I looked down at my t-shirt and jeans that day and figured I’d better step up and start dressing my age.

      I completely agree that dressing professionally is one of many strategies that can work for classroom management – but I still don’t stick to it. I’ve thought about it plenty, and I definitely have items that are “weekends only”. Ultimately, I think other management strategies get me more bang for my buck in terms of getting students in line. So dressing professionally is lower on my list of priorities. You have me thinking about bumping it up a few notches though!


  10. I had a really hard time teaching physics for the first time too (I think everyone does!) but now it’s my third year with the class and I actually enjoy it. If you haven’t already check out prettygoodphysics wikispace.. It was a lifesaver for me! Good luck!!


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