Gotta be careful sometimes when I play-act a loose-cannon rage to quell a rowdy class. Sometimes play-acting rage can result in real rage if the initial blow-up doesn't cool things off.
Today in last period we had a great day until near the end when I blasted them with a faux display after they went all chaotic. I kicked a desk and a young man who got in my face found himself with his arm twisted behind his back face down on a desk. "Yo, that some police shit," another boy said, and I released his classmate. I don't intend any "police shit," of course, but have to consider such appearances at all times, given that I am a white man in a room full of African American students. But young men who "get up in my grill" are going to find I don't flinch. They beat a teacher in the head with desks and chairs a couple years back at my school. Nobody is going to feel confident coming at me.
I told them I was tired of the noise and the disrespect. The boy who'd been face down a moment before said "We tired of you!" and I sent him to the office and my fake anger became real anger. "His head gettin' real red," a girl said. "SHUT YOUR MOUTHS," I screeched.
Kids actually jumped.
"I can teach anywhere I choose," I told them quietly and calmly. "I can teach in Baltimore County, Howard County, or Montgomery County, where the kids sit quietly in their chairs and do their work and colleges fight over them. But I came here to teach you. You can take advantage of that or not. The next person who breathes without my permission will stay with me until 4pm today." Then we finished our lesson in relative peace and quiet.
Strangely, no one had detention today in my classes, but I had 10 kids in my room after school, asking if they could help clean up, wash the boards, or use my computers. They stayed until 4. I helped them with homework, we exchanged stories, we listened to Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane and Rihanna. I was at work from 7am-5pm, and I am bone tired.