Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cowards Die Many Times Before Their Death

Julius Caesar Theme #1: Conspiracy must end in murder

I've got this student who is a complete horse's ass. He is rude. Belligerent. Won't bring a book to class, has no pencil, won't keep a journal, vandalizes his desk, scratches his name on the chair, stares off into space during lectures, belittles me, curses me under his breath, flips me off when I turn my back, carries on full conversations when I ask him to be quiet, gets up and walks around the back of the room during discussion, and refuses to do any kind of work.
Forget about asking for help. There is no help. The vice principals just laugh and tell me to control him, the directors just say it is my job to teach him, the administrators shake their head and say he must grow up and enter society someday, and his homeroom teacher says it is my fault but she will stamp his honor card nonetheless... since I obviously can't control him.
So we're in class and I'm trying to finish a lecture on Martin Luther King's Stride toward Freedom speech and this kid is full on having a laughing attack in the back of the class with another kid. So I ask him to be quiet. Nothing. I ask him to be quiet again. Nothing. I ask a third time and he just laughs louder. So I go over to him and toss him. He's done. Out of class.
The following class I decide to take the kids out to play basketball, but I tell this kid to "park it." He ain't going anywhere. He's wasted my time. He's shown no respect. He hasn't earned the privilege of going outside to play. So he sulks. He pouts. He goes home that night and tells his parents that I'm a bad teacher. That he can't learn from me. That parent complains to the school and suddenly I have an administrator sitting in the back of my room with a clipboard. All because I wanted the kid to pay attention and be quiet.
To make matters worse, this kid begins to turn the whole class against me. He tells the other students not to look at me when I enter the room, to keep their heads down, to pretend that I don't exist, to not open their books when I ask them, to stop doing homework, to protest my class by doing nothing...to stop cooperating all together.
So now I am in class, standing in front of all these bowed heads... no one looking at me, not one book on the desk, not one eye open. Complete silence. And I can hear the kid grinning, chuckling to himself that he's won... you wanted us to be quiet... now what ya gonna say?

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