At the beginning of the year, I hated my freshmen. They were rude. They acted like monkeys. They couldn't sit in their seats for more than five seconds at a time. They didn't do their homework, then whined when they weren't passing. They smelled like gym socks and candy and made my room smell for hours afterwards. They called me "Mrs. Anonymous" no matter how many times I reminded them I wasn't married. They stared at me with blank expressions on their faces and attempted to answer "I dunno" to every question I asked them. They picked on each other and caused silly fights in the middle of class. Basically, they made my teaching life miserable.
If someone would've told me at the beginning of the year that I would really be leaning towards teaching freshmen again next year, I would've laughed in their face...loudly. But I am. Like fungi, my freshmen have grown on me. I actually enjoy them most of the time. They still act like idiots occasionally, but we've learned to appreciate one another.
I've learned to relax some with them. Their still young. I can't expect the same maturity out of them as my juniors. I give them a break if their giggly (we've learned to put our heads down on our desk if we can't control our laughter). I've figured out how to pull them out of their little shells. I didn't realize how scary high school can be, but it was overwhelming for them...a huge change, and I didn't take that into account when teaching. Most of them were simply over their heads. Now we have discussions, joke around, and actually enjoy one another's company.
They quickly learned I wouldn't tolerate any sort of disrespect. That was off-putting for them at first. They thought I was (and I'm quoting here) a "bitch" because I wrote them up for what they considered to be minor things. They've matured since the beginning of the year. We can actually have fun now, and I can be a little more laid back as a result of their improved behavior.
Anyways, this post has been sitting in "draft" status for several days now, so I'm just going to post it.