Monday, February 8, 2010

May I have that Pencil, Please?

Today was the aftermath of the Saints’ Bighugeginormous Game (Can’t use the real name; it’s trademarked!) victory at school, and it was rather predictable. There were absences everywhere for both the students and especially the faculty. With five teachers out, we didn’t have enough subs to fill in the gaps, so we had students on alternate schedule all over the place all day long. In several of my classes I only had enough seats for students because there were enough students absent to allow for them. It really did play havoc on my lesson plan, as I was attempting to introduce a project and get my critters into working pairs.

Seventh period, the class I currently loathe the most due to their incredible inability to keep their mouths shut and stay on task for more than about 45 seconds at a time, was really up and ready to go from the second they walked in. I couldn’t manage to reel them in no matter what I did. Adding to the fun was eight students from three different teachers on alternate schedule… with none of them having work to complete. I was plowing through the lesson as best as I could. They were split off into pairs and I was preparing to tell them about the project, when they assumed their typical state of inane chatter. Like any good teacher worth their salt, rather than yelling I just stood there silently and waited for them to be quiet since half of the room was talking.

As per Murphy’s Law, the problem kicked off on the quiet side of the classroom when two of my most quiet students are suddenly tossing desks and swinging away at each other. It was handbags at best, and I was in no mood to let it go on longer than necessary so I waded in and split them up. I set a student for help… only for them to come back empty-handed. I had them cooled down (thanks to another student) enough to sit down (One said “How about I read a magazine here?”) and I called the office. A staff member came in and took them away. The class tried to talk but I promptly ruined their day by canceling their project, instead giving them a quiz on the same material on Friday. In the debrief, I found out the reason for their fisticuffs: one student took the other’s pencil and refused to give it back as a prank. Yes, these two students willingly fought and are getting three days of in-school suspension because of a pencil. A pencil!

I have never understood the concept of physical fighting at school, or in life in general. I’m a big fan of ice hockey but I’ve never liked the concept of wanton violence that is ingrained in the sport. Perhaps it’s just because I’m a little old weakling, but the concept of getting in a fight just makes me scratch my head… and the concept of fighting over a pencil is even sillier. I guess it’s one of the things I’ll never get. Well, that, along with things like when asking an essay question about making a prediction for a story regarding a safecracker, a student tells me a story about a pimp, how students can be tardy when the class they’re going to is next door, how one can be fifteen and still be in the seventh grade, or any of the other crazy things that I see every day at school.

Not all is bad, however, as one of our teachers made it to the local newspaper in a great way. If you want to know about my man Mr. Schmidt, check out the link here.

Until next time.

1 comment:

schmidty said...

ugh, typical day in the life at B.E.B. I hate alternate schedules. I had two of your seventh graders show up today with nothing. I don't know their names. I call one "sassy pants" and the other has some insanely ghetto name like J'amberontrinqua or something similar. I had "sassy pants" copy the Huey Long biography and J'amberontrinqua copied Hamlet. Bet they bring their AR book next time they come calling!