This week surely has been long! I am a third year HS Spanish teacher (and young). Our school runs on a semester basis, so I've had my three classes since January. We meet everyday. I have had terrific classes up until now, but things really have gone downhill. It all started Wednesday, when the students started 'quitting' on me. They started to complain about the amount of work I had assigned them... no big deal- but when a student started one of her gimmicks (sneezing really loud), I called her out on it. The rest of the class defended her. Later that day her mom called the principal and told him that the loud sneezing was an issue with the family. I hardly believe that (as she only did it to get attention before). So, I was forced to apologize. I am afraid to defend myself because administration has defended parents rather than teachers before. This is my second year in this school, and while things have gotten better, what happened yesterday and today was upsetting. I had assigned a notebook check this week and while I had given the students plenty of heads up, half of them were still unprepared. I had plenty of students blow up on me because I had to take off points for missing sections and for turning them in late! I end up cutting more slack to avoid angry parents and making the students hate me. I strive so hard to make myself approachable. I cannot find a way to be strict without appearing mean to them. All that has to happen is for me to appear mean to a student, student tells mom, and mom calls the principal. Principal sends me an email to apologize to mom and the student. If I defend myself, chances are (based on past experiences) the principal will defend the parent. It also appears that he doesn't like me (he is very distant). Furthermore, I teach Spanish and so since the subject I teach is not a core subject, it seems that he isn't as concerned about what goes on in my class as opposed to a core class. What happened today really brought me down. My 'best' class had turned a 180. I had them in groups and found that some of them (even the previously perceived good students) have started to 'give me the bird' behind my back. What happened? Was I too nice to them? I would let some things slide and laughed with their jokes (the clean ones). I will now start being extra vigilant! I was also asked by a student if I had a girlfriend in high school. I didn't answer his question, but the reason why I brought this up is because I was born with a syndrome that affects my physical appearance, so that may also be a factor. I am also partially deaf and I wear a hearing aid (the kids don't know). Do you think my looks can affect the way a student will me? At the end of today, another student asked me if I liked teaching high school. I answered, "of course!" Then she went on to say: "Yeah, but students are so disrespectful!" That moment I thought about why she asked me the question in the first place. Students have been making comments about me and what happened this week... I am really down! Monday, I know I will be walking in that school with a different attitude. I really thought things were going well! I've always know that the HS student can be disrespectful, but today was a tough one for me. One last piece of the story- I am reluctant to write referrals because admin has ripped them up before (they were all for disrespect). They don't always punish the students for their wrongdoing! That is why I can't just send them out. I can call them out on their behavior, but that helps very little. They continue to snap at me and put themselves over me. What causes them to be be so disrespectful? I don't know. I always show them respect; timely feedback, please, thank you, ma'am, sir, fair amoutn of work, etc... Am I too nice to them? Do I cut too much slack? I find it so hard to draw the line... I can't defend myself! I seems that I have very little control! Like I said, things had been going great since January. I also realize that the end of the quarter raises stress levels. What should I do? Is there anybody else that has had the same experience? What would cause 'good' students to start behaving so disrespectfully, all of the sudden? Thank for your time in reading this and I appreciate any guidance and support.