Preview of Things to Come?

Ms. M and I co-teach a life skills class for seventh-graders. The class is composed of ten boys and one girl, so you can imagine the hormonal issues we confront in that room almost all of the time.

Today, for example, E-Boy called me “big mouth.” We took an immediate trip to the office so that he could call home and explain to his mother why he was in trouble with me. Despite my prompting him several times, however, he adroitly neglected to tell his mother what precipitated the phone call. He simply said, “I’m in trouble with the teacher.”

So we went back to the classroom, where I dictated, and E-Boy wrote, the following letter to his mother:

wen I call you on the cell phone I forgot to tell you what I said to Mr. R. I called Mr. R Big mouth. talking like that to a teacher or any adult is not acceptable. the next time I do that I will be referred to the principal for insubordination and I will probably be suspended for at least a day. please sign this paper so I can give it to Mr. R tomorrow

If he doesn’t bring the signed letter back, I’ll write up a disciplinary referral.

Another student, J-Boy, ignored Ms. M’s repeated injunctions to get to work and quit horsing around. She finally had enough of his antics, took him to the office, and made him call home. J-Boy’s dad wasn’t too happy to hear from his son.

Still another student, J-Boy Two, shifted his weight in his seat as I stood nearby, aimed his posterior in my direction and unleashed his intestinal gas with explosive force. He laughed gleefully. I was not amused.

“Now,” I said, “you have a choice: You will write sentences using all 14 words on the board [the other students had to write only six sentences], or we can go to the office right now and you can call your mom to tell her what you just did.”

J-Boy Two decided to write sentences. It became obvious, however, that he wasn’t going to finish them before the bell rang, so I said, “The sentences are for homework. If you don’t hand them in tomorrow, you will call your mom.”

Seconds before the bell rang, Ms. M turned to me and whispered, “I can tell this is going to be a shi**y year.”

I hope she’s wrong.

Posted on September 2, 2009, in classroom management, first days of school. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I much prefer to work in the high school or elementary school even though I’m not a teacher but a secretarial substitute. Middle school students are not my cup of tea!!

  2. Oy.

    It could go either way. You could have a nightmarish time with these kids or you might find they come around and you have a wonderful year with them. A lot has to do with what you expect, I think, and what kind of boundaries you’re able to hold….

  3. 5-7-5 Your comment on my last Ruby Tuesday post is a haiku ! wow, thank you for this present, it makes me happy. I’ve added it in my post. When I read some of your posts I immediately recall some movies I saw on the theme : motivated teacher starts in a “desperate” class, sees himself confronted with an almost impossible task but doesn’t give up. My respect !

  4. I think once they figure out you’re not kidding they’ll settle down. My problem is my students are literally racking up the tardies faster than I can hand out the consequences. I mean late 5 days in a row? Really?

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