Thursday, April 27, 2006

Pardon me while I vent my frustration. My kids are driving me bananas.

I stumbled into school today with a stuffy head and a tired body (fitful sleeping due to major allergies) and it seemed that, while a bit silly, my kids were at least going to be something like normal today.

They completed their starter activity (a word find) while I took role. Nothing new there. We sang our warmups (a Native American song, a West African song, an Aboriginal song and a song from Trinidad). Everything was fine.

Then, like any other day, I said, "Okay--please take out Singabahambayo and stand up." At this point, I walked a few steps to the CD player to get the backing track going. About 5 or 6 kids left the risers to bombard me with questions. While I was telling them to please sit down and raise their hands--BOOM! Two kids are duking it out in the middle of my classroom. Remember Brian of the chair-throwing incident? He and Kenny were going at each other. It started with Brian trying to take something from Kenny, and Kenny kicking him HARD in the shins.

My first thought was, "Oh, shit."

My second thought was, "Why me??"

My third thought was, "I should separate them."

My fourth thought was, "I am not taking an elbow to the face for anyone."

These thoughts all occured in rapid succession, in the space of about one second. Then I took action. If you've never seen me truly pissed off, it's not a pretty thing.

"BRIAN! GO OVER THERE!!" (Pointing to one side of the room).

"KENNY! GO OVER THERE!!" (Pointing to other side of the room).


They may be goofy 11-year-olds but they're not stupid. They did what I told them to do at this point. The rest of the class looked almost frightened. I'm pretty sure I had steam coming out of my ears.

I stepped into my little office to call for assistance and within a minute, Ms. Dean was in my room to take the little shits away. Kenny, a habitual crybaby, was bawling and rubbing his head. I had ZERO sympathy.

I took a moment to yell at the rest of the class for failing to remember that one of my classroom expectations all freakin' year has been "Stay in your assigned spot." Then we sang Singabahambayo, finally.

After class, I was due at the high school for an afternoon sub job. I stopped by the middle school office to find Ms. Dean in her office with Brian. I poked my head in to give her my version of what happened, and she informed me that according to Kenny and Brian, neither one started it. So tomorrow I'll be talking to choir kids to see what they saw.

Then Ms. Dean dropped the best piece of information: "Apparently, Jessica threw an eraser at Brian. It bounced off of him and rolled to the middle of the room. Kenny got up to get it, thinking it was a freebee. Ben got up to take it back from Kenny."

I gaped at her, then turned to gape at Brian, then turned back to Ms. Dean. "You mean that whole drama was about an ERASER?!?!"

She confirmed this and agreed with my complete disgust. We agreed that both boys will be doing an assignment about expectations and appropriate behavior. Brian, who has had behavior problems before and was out of my class for almost a month in March, is on his last chance. If he doesn't shape up, if there's even ONE complaint out of my mouth about his conduct in choir, he'll be spending fourth period with the custodian, scraping gum, picking up litter, washing walls, etc. I also suggested he could help clean up at the high school, as they have lunch during 4th period.

After this, I rushed over to the high school and readied myself for a two-hour block period of social studies. Turns out, the teacher had left a movie choise for them: Indiana Jones or Walk the Line. They voted for Walk the Line, a few kids helped me set up the computer and projector to play the DVD, and we all settled in to watch.

I love Walk the Line--great movie--but the BEST part of my afternoon was definitely the quiet. Only one kid asked to go to the bathroom. The only talking were a few comments from the kids about the movie, but they weren't rude, disparaging, or stupid. Normally, 10 minute before the bell, the kids would be grabbing their stuff and crowding around the door, but every kid in that classroom stayed in their seats with their eyes glued to the screen until the bell rang.


Anyway, tomorrow morning I'll come up with some really tedious assignment for Kenny and Brian, and I'll have a little chat with Jessica about throwing things in my classroom. At least it'll be Friday.

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