Thursday, March 10, 2005

A Rotten Thursday

Figures, doesn't it? One step forward, eighteen steps back. Sometimes this professions sucks.

Class B had to take the interim assessment test (Class C took it on Tuesday and Class A will have to do it tomorrow) during reading. That handful of girls was mucho chatty. I actually kept a tally: Attitude A talked out of turn or called out NINE times in the first thirty minutes. Another girl called out seven times in that same period of time. Fucking ridiculous.

In writing workshop, we reviewed the five elements of plot. I emphasized that at the climax, the story hangs in the balance, and that we keep reading to find out if the hero will win or not. That's the point when the ending would change.

Then I read a lame, picture book version of Cinderella. They were supposed to take notes on what elements of plot they could identify. I stopped reading at the point when the prince arrived at Cinderella's house with the lost glass slipper.

We discussed what each element was what. Then we talked about the climax. That we know the ending of the story is that the shoe fits only Cinderella, and then they get to live happily ever after.

So, since the outcome of the climax determines the ending, I had them rewrite the ending as if the shoe fit one of the evil stepsisters instead. (In each class, when I said this, students gasped, and said, "What?" "No way!" It was cute.)

Class B did okay, they were chatty and whatever.

But Class A was the real treat. (Sarcasm)
A kid who is one of my borderline behavior problems (always out of his seat, leaves the room without permission, comes in late, talks, sitting in the wrong seat, etc) called out that he needed to go to the bathroom. This was twenty minutes before the end of third period; lunch is right after that.

Now, before I go on, Mr AP put out a bulletin for sixth grade teachers about bathroom, that some kids have had accidents and teachers should let them go. There was also a sentence about we 'should know who the kids with behavior problems are.' As in, we should let the 'good kids' go? Because it's the bad kids that cause problems trying to take advantage of bathroom privileges. And honestly, it is a privilege. At the beginning of the year, all the 'bad kids' totally took advantage of me being a new, nice teacher with the bathroom stuff. So with that, plus the disruption it causes, I withdrew ALL bathroom privileges soon after. That's only fair, unfortunately.

Anyway, so this kid is a problem. For ten full minutes, there was a nasty battle of wills about the goddamn bathroom. Once he stood up to make for the door, I stood there with my back against the doorknob. Did that stop him? Oh no, he put his hand on the door, touching me in the process. When I told him to not touch me, he insisted that he wasn't. He was very upset, seeming near tears. But no dice for me. I don't trust him and I'm not going to be manipulated by him. Once the yelling fiercely didn't intimidate him, I just kept telling him in a quiet, calm voice that he needed to sit down, that he could go at lunch in a few minutes.

This went on for ten fucking minutes. I did not move and he kept yelling for me to move. Once he started to raise his fist. I took note. Later, he denied it of course.

Anyway, after ten minutes of no progress or change, I said to him, in a low, threatening voice, "Listen. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to open that door, and you're NOT coming back. I don't care who you get a note from; you are not coming back into this room without a parent, and I will tell them exactly what you've done today."

At that, he sulked back to his seat.


We then finished the lesson. I did not let them go until we were done. It took about six minutes into the lunch period, which wasn't too bad, considering the ten wasted minutes with that jackass kid.

Some of the nice girls in Class A stayed in at lunch. They were so sweet. They understood exactly why I did what I did. One of them said, "Every time we have a nice teacher, they [gesturing vaguely toward 'boys'] ruin it." I said, "Mm, I've noticed."

Fifth and sixth were off and I didn't do much of anything.

Seventh Class C started off too chatty, and I told them that I was only going to give them one chance. They kept chatting and not focusing, so BAM! Pop quiz.

Then there was another battle with R. It took awhile, and Mr AP plus another dude, but they took him out.

After a lecture, which they sat through quietly, we moved on. They came up with some great alternative endings to Cinderella. One good one went something like this:

The shoe fit the evil stepsister. Cinderella was like, "What?! I have the other shoe!" The prince was like, "Whatever, you're ugly, so I'm marrying her." So Cinderella went outside and cried for five hundred years. Then she died of hunger.


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