I am fed up with that last General Music class of the day. They've completely pushed me over the edge. The behavior of almost every person was erratic and unquestionably unforgivable. I couldn't hold their attention for more than two seconds (and there were paper airplanes (!!!) on the floor after class). Clapping a one-measure rhythm pattern with a class of 7th-graders should never result in students banging on desks and wildly jumping out of their seats.
I once gave in and asked a question that shouldn't be asked; "I've seen you all in other classes and I know you can focus better than this. What is it that other teachers do that I don't that makes you behave better for them?" Their answer was uniformly, "They yell at us."
I'm trapped. Modern pedagogical theory takes the stance that yelling is, most often, counterproductive, as a culture of expected submission is much less educationally valuable than one of mutual respect. Well, I've pushed the respect approach as far as it can go. I don't claim to be some sort of pedagogical paragon, but I realize now that I've been fighting against a culture that does not foster the kind of classroom management that I've been trained to provide.
We have to punish them. Tomorrow we'll have them sit in an outward-facing circle and do individual work without speaking to any other students, or at all unless they raise their hand and are called on.
Hmph. I think everything else was fine today. I can't even think straight.