Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Day 15

My first day teaching an entire class period. I took over first and third from Lukie, who assisted and observed. First period went reasonably well, but without Lukie and the special educator I would have been swamped by classroom management issues. There are three significant behavior problems in the room: Emmanuell, who can't stay in his seat or on task for two minutes despite having a one-on-one assistant; Montrise, who suffers the same ailment; and Jery, who is a tough young gangsta who tells you to fuck off if you ask him to comply with classroom expectations. I spent much of period one asking Emmanuell and Montrise to sit down and being told by Jery to fuck off.

The other 18 students were fine, and did their work as instructed.

Then, during class change, I heard screaming outside the door. I looked out to see Shantell, who nearly beat up Timothy last week, frontin' with a much bigger young lady named Marie. "You disrespectin' me and disrespectin' my man then you best throw down your fucking bookbag and let's go!" Seconds later I saw Lukie and Mr. Cole in a swarm of tangled bodies. Lukie said "Pull down the lever and call for security Mr. G," then she screamed it, and then Mr. Cole screamed it too. I called security and went out into the hall and started separating bodies in a mass beat-down. We got to a point of relative calm and still security had not arrived, so I called them again just as the shitstorm commenced its swarming anew. Timothy lunged at Tamelik. Other teachers were struggling to separate other combatants. I was sorely tempted to start throwing blows myself, most intensely when Jery ran by and I thought I could hit him a good anonymous blow to the throat. Instead I grabbed Timothy around the chest and pulled him across the hall kicking and screaming "you lucky muthafucka that Mr. G here or you be hurtin'!" Emmanuell and Montrise and Jery were running rampant grabbing ass, Mary was again in the hall face-to-face with Shantell, and Officer Wheeling finally arrived. The presence of a police officer usually gets students back into their rooms, but at this point Shantell was in danger of losing face and she attacked Marie full-on with wild punches. None of them landed, and Marie used her 100 lb advantage and much longer arms to push Shantell hard to the deck, where she sprawled in a clattering mess of silver hair beads. Shantell was obviously humiliated but got up for more when Officer Wheeling placed her under arrest and cuffed her. Lukie was dismayed that the teachers were able to keep the kids from actually landing blows, but the police seemed content to stand aside until punches landed and then to react. Shouldn't the intent be to prevent a fight?

Shantell is one of our best students. Now she will miss two weeks of school and have an arrest record.

Ten minutes later we had a fire drill. Once again, not much teaching happened at school during the first two periods. Third period, however, went smashingly. I wrote several notes home about the charming behavior of my students, and thanked them verbally for their cooperation. During third period Jery's mother brought him back upstairs to apologize for telling me to fuck off.

6 comments:

casey said...

I truly have no idea how you put yourself through this every day.

Silenus said...

Did your last grad school experience entail an melees? There have not been any in mine so far. However, there is a "mixer" with Fordham tomorrow night. I might have to throw down on some high-scoring LSAT muthafuckas.

Silenus said...

P.S. I don't actually go to "mixers."

P.P.S. Don't get bitten. Grandma got bitten and had to Maryland General Hospital all day. Maryland General is worse than Booker T.

Nyarlathotep said...

I love my job. Never a dull moment!

Mixers, eh? Perhaps if I get a handful of good students on an NY field trip I can time it to coincide with your next "mixer." That would be fun.

My wife got bitten, but on the east side. I think they took her to Hopkins.

alicia said...

sounds like your school needs an after school yoga class. Sooo many fights ... even with the girls? Where are the good old days where girls would just screw each other psychologically and cause eating disorders? err...well maybe the good old days weren't that great.

jannx said...

Wow. I could not imagine working in an environment like that.