Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 12

The Class From Hell--I love them so. After repeated complaints from faculty and the social worker experience with them Monday and six fist fights involving students in that group the administrators called an emergency assembly yesterday and gave the entire sixth grade a dressing-down. I loathe this tactic. If one particular crew are responsible for 94% of the troubles in the grade, get that crew nailed down--don't lecture everyone. But I'm not in charge. I hoped it would help.

Today my first two classes were wonderful darlings again. They are terrified of me and they like me at the same time. I approach my Verbal Warning list with a piece of chalk in those classes and you can hear the mice sifting through dust in the walls. They always come to my room asking if they can come to my class instead of going to art or music (not gym, though).

But the last class of the day? Wow! The social worker intern who helped me in there Monday fled back to her superiors with reports of the crisis in that class, and they sent me TWO interns today. Again I had a good laugh talking to the new one ahead of time.

Things started smoothly. I told the class I was proud of how they entered my room, and that every one had done the right thing for the first time all year. I showed them a video about hurricanes, we answered some questions, and then we read an article about hurricanes. Then Fate jumped up and started threating other students, and Hubris and Pride strolled in late. Mopey started rolling around in my desk chair, and Whiny kept whing "Mr. G can you wipe my nose/tie my shoe/fix my pencil/copy this down." The two social workers and Mr. H fanned out into the chaos as I tried to bring the class under control. Two fights erupted and in another corner Pride had his hand up a girl's shirt. By banging on the board with my fists and using my timer and the Phone Call Home board I got everyone in their seats and quiet. I read them "Rikki Tikki Tavi" and showed them a video of a mongoose killing a snake. Then they were writing in their journals about Rikki when three more fights erupted and all was lost, social workers or no. The school police officer happened to walk by and she was so astonished that we held the class after school and the administrator told them that none of them were allowed back in the building until their parents came up and spoke to all the teachers.

Tomorrow Mr. H is getting the poor souls who want to learn--they are leaving that class and going with him to his room where they will be able to do their classwork without jerks fucking with them. He will teach them from my syllabus. I am taking the jerks and we are going no-nonsense now. They will sit where I tell them and they will do their work or they will be sent to another school. That's the way it goes from here on out. I still love them but 60% of the kids in that room need a one-on-one assistant and I don't have ANY. I don't have a special educator and more than half these kids have IEPs for emotional disturbance or learning disabilities--and I have them for 90 minutes straight, a tough haul for ANY sixth grader. All the sixth grade teachers face this group every day.

No more. The social workers have seen it and now the word has spread up to the state level, so the slow in-house bureacracy is now moving or it will face state interference. Thank goodness. These kids need help. I can't keep them safe right now.

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