Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 63

pooped! long day yesterday, in bed @ 1am, up at 6, at the grocery store buying mints and juice packs @ 6:30, in school re-arranging desks and prepping for the tests @ 6:45. Got my homeroom through the first 3-hour session, then had a 45-minute language arts class with them, during which it was impossible to keep them quiet. It was 70 degrees out and the test was done and they were done with school after the test, and weren't doing anything, they announced, until the next day's test session. Any suggestion that we use the time productively was regarded as "trifling" at best and "petty" at worst.

KB threw a magic marker at Aviary and hit him in the eye, precipitating a rare crisis. KB is a jerk and a goofball whose behavior and academic performance have dropped precipitously since Term 2, but I have a soft spot for him because he was one of the few kids in my first period class and homeroom to give me a chance the first month I was at the March. He talked to me, did his work quietly, and always yelled at kids who were disrupting class. Now he's always disrupting class, and the kid he hit with a marker is a corner boy who "don't play," a kid who respects me but rarely comes to class. Aviary jumped up and pushed KB and I got between them, my back to KB. I had to make sure to keep the burlier boy in sight and checked; Aviary is a big kid but he wasn't getting past me, and he knew it, so he sent a signal to KB by pausing to take his coat off while talking smack. This communicated the fact that Aviary was serious, and that he couldn't get past me, but he was nonetheless truly going to kick KB's ass, and that KB best recognize it. I took the coat signal as a chance, and turned to KB (who was red-faced and nearly crying in fright despite being taller than Aviary and a big-talker) and told him to get out of the class. Surprisingly, he did--usually a student will take a substantial beating rather than allow himself such humiliation.

"He a punk," one girl said. "Why you let him leave, Mr. G? He ain't gonna change until he get beat like he needs." (this sentiment was later echoed in precisely the same language by a hall monitor).

Another girl said "His bark is worse than his bite." I asked her what kind of language that was, and she said "That be a idiom." Never one to pass up a teaching opportunity, I asked her if she could think of a simile for KB's behavior, and another girl said "he folded like one of grandma's sheets!"

I love my kids.

Later in the hall I saw KB on his back exposing his neck to Aviary-he might play A-dawg but he knows his place in the pack is pre-determined.

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