This semester, part of my task at work is morning homework help. I sit in the lunchroom and students bring any homework they have not finished and we work on it together. The first couple days of homework help were great! Students didn't really need my help and just contentedly read their books at different corners of the lunch room tables.
But recently, the task has taken a turn for the tiresome. Students are coming into the lunch room in growing numbers. Three particular 4th grade girls come in every morning for Math help or to catch up with each other. Some days they get along great, but other days, they need significant help remembering how to be civil to each other. Two other students now play scrabble together on my kindle. They fight over it sometimes, and I have to keep a close eye on them.
Other second grade students bring their Chinese homework in because they have not finished it or because they need to practice the Chinese lesson for the week. Other students have started to sneak in card games and play them quietly, hoping to go unnoticed.The lunchroom lady told me I need to stop them from playing any games in the morning lest it lead to gambling.
For the most part, I enjoy helping students with their homework. But I also notice that by the time that bell rings at 8:30, I'm already exhausted by the varying levels of needs. I am one person, one teacher. To manage all these things if even for 30 minutes feels a little daunting.
And by 8:30, I'm already craving a break from people, from students, and the day is just beginning.