Yesterday, I had an awesome teaching day. I stood at the front of the class for an hour and taught while the students listened (for the most part).
We had a deal, see. I'm doing a media literacy unit with them, and it could be a lot of fun. We'll watch TV shows and movies and commercials; we'll read magazines and look at pictures; we'll get to tear apart things we don't like. It's a lot different than reading Freak the Mighty. I told them up front that there's a lot of theory and stuff to learn up front, and that we'll have to do stuff like that occasionally. The big thing they needed to understand was that it has to be educational in some way, because I need to be able to justify its content to my boss, if I'm ever asked (which I probably will be).
So, I went through a bunch of theory with them yesterday, and it was amazing! There were plenty of interruptions, sure, but for the most part they let me talk. They seemed to get it: we can't watch TV until I say this, so listen or it'll take forever.
I also informed them that the unit requires maturity and responsibility because it's so different from what they normally do; and that they would be required to think sometimes.
I also told them that a lack of maturity would result in me shutting the unit down immediately and resorting to grammar sheets to get us through the next couple of months.
It's the same speech I gave the other class on Wednesday in a LOUD, ANGRY voice because they were acting like idiots and I had to send 5 of them to the office. If I'd had my druthers, I told them, I would take 5 or 6 people into another room to do the unit and the rest of them I'd leave with the grammar sheets.
It was so nice to not have to go through that with yesterday's class. For the first time in a while, I felt like a competent teacher.