He's one of the truly problematic kids in my last class. I know he's smart because I've seen some of his writing and I've seen his ingenious devious behavior, but he fills in random circles on bubble sheets when we take tests, smiling at me as he does so.
Because he's bright and he was previously held back a year the higher-ups decide to move him to 7th grade. I think this is a great idea. They tell him "Next Friday you're moving to 7th grade." Suddenly he does his work daily and sits in his chair and stops stealing my stuff. He becomes a rock upon which the chaos in that classroom breaks.
Then, inexplicably, he starts throwing paper airplanes. Right in front of me or Mr. H he'll stand up and throw something out the window. I confront him of course and take him for a talk in the hall. "What are you doing? Is this the behavior of someone going to 7th grade?" I ask. I can feel my hair graying.
"They changed their minds. I'm staying here."
Oh, I think. Now I can see why he's acting out. I decide to give him some space because I'd be pissed too. Yesterday he stole one of my gel pens--no big deal, whatever. I saw him after school and I told him "I hope you put that pen to good use. Write me something."
He glared at me.
Today he sits on my desk sharpening the same pencil over and over at the electronic pencil sharpener. He pauses, I start to talk, then he starts again. This is his new game. I tell him to get off my desk, but as I start to talk he pushes the pencil in again. I put my hand on his chest and half-shove/half-lift him back off the desk and onto his feet. He returns to his seat, he breaks the pen he stole yesterday open and pours ink onto my desk and onto his table mates' papers. I hit the roof and write him a referral to the office. He comes back twenty minutes later and I talk to him in the hall. I tell him I'm not angry, but I'm disappointed. He apologizes but he won't look at me. He enters the room where we are taking the Unit 1 test, and he fills in the circles at random.
"Why don't you actually try?" I ask. "You could ace this!"
"I did try," he sneers. I point out that he has filled in responses for 30 questions on his answer sheet, and there are only 26 questions on the test. He crumples up his paper.
"Are you gonna call my grandma?" he asks. I say no, because the assistant principal already did. He draws me a picture of Piglet and colors it in. I hang it on my wall.