I’ve had such good luck with my classes since the spring. Last session I had only one class that had two kids who were a bit problematic and I had to get all b*tch face on them, but other than that, my classes were a dream.
Summer session started a month ago. We’ve just now finished week 4. Each week we have a new camp start so there’s a fresh batch of kids every Monday morning. Weeks 1 through 3 were great. Nice students, fun classes, I’ve been SOOOO relaxed!
This week, I met my match. I had the week from HELL!
I teach the stop motion animation and Star Wars inspired camps. This week was Star Wars. I had 9 students, 3 of them with known problems such as ADHD and Autism. Mild enough that they didn’t need aides, but bad enough that they made things a little (read:lot) more challenging than normal.
I was OK on Day 1. Day 2 not so bad either. Hey, maybe this camp was going to be OK after all!
Day 3. It all came crashing down. I was trying to do a painting demo. The kids had to do a painting of outer space with a Star Wars inspired character standing on a planet. Seems simple enough, right?
When you have 9 kids between the ages of 6 and 11 it’s hard. When 2 of them don’t ever stop talking (loudly), ignore your call for attention, don’t listen, then sing the Cookie Monster version of “Call me Maybe?” at the top of their voices, it gets to you. Like, really, REALLY gets to you. This is after two days of minor annoyances that I guess added up to the crazy train coming down the track and…..
I lost it.
You know it’s bad when you say to the group that you feel like you may as well be teaching dogs and cats with the lack of listening and understanding going on. You know it’s bad when you catch yourself about to scream SHUT UP! (I caught myself in time.) You know it’s bad when you have to give a 5 minute lecture on respecting each others personal space and how to use their “inside voice.” You know it’s bad when you just want to crawl up into a ball on the floor and weep.
I should have just walked out of the room and taken a few deep breaths and calmed down. But I stopped the class and told them in no uncertain terms that they were making me crazy and here’s why. I felt so out of control, and that, in a nutshell is what’s bothering me so much.
My name is Andrea and I’m a control freak. When I can’t control my surroundings I get agitated and can feel my stress, anxiety and frustration start to bubble up and all it takes is one little thing to make me lose my sh*t. Now I’ve lost my cool, and in effect lost control and it makes me angry (and a little embarrassed.)
So, what do I do? Relax? Try to not be so controlling? If I didn’t have some modicum of control over these kids it would be a disaster. Maybe I should just OWN the fact that I’m a control freak and let that be it.
I always thought I was pretty laid back, and in real life (socially and with family) I am. It’s just in the work department where this trait comes out.
Anyone else have this problem? Is it just me? Should I work on it or just let it be?
On a week like this, all I can say is thank god for wine and chocolate.