Today Rash was itchin' for a confrontation. I called his house for the gillionth time, hoping to catch his mama and ruin his weekend. Instead his gramma answered, and she said "Mr. G, I want you to take Rash for a walk. Do you hear what I'm saying? He don't have a man in his life, and he needs a man to take him for a walk. You take him where you think you need to: the bathroom, the hallway, or out behind the school. You do what he needs being done. Or, even better, you embarrass him in front of the class. You understand what I'm tellin' you, Mr. G.? You hear what I am saying?"
"Why yes I do. I hear what you are saying. You are requesting that I get physical with your grandson. Do I have your permission?"
"Oh, sweet Jesus. You not only have my permission, you have my request. I want you to be firm with him."
Rash was standing next to me, and I had my phone tilted out so he could hear what Granny was saying. His eyes got bigger and bigger as the phone call progressed. Before I hung up I started rolling up my shirt sleeves. My 6th graders this year have only seen me in dress shirts or sweaters: they haven't seen my arms. They started saying "Damn!" and "Dag!" I pushed my sleeves all the way up as I hung up the phone. Then I picked Rash up and used him as an eraser on the front board. Then I folded him up and rolled him around on the floor a while, and then I opened my supply cabinet and put him inside and locked the door. He calmed down noticeably.
Then T said "you try that on me and I'll hit you." I went after him and he ran out in the hall. I took off my glasses and said "hit me. I want you to hit me." The classroom emptied behind me. "Your class is off the chain," T said, backpedalling, "you need to get them back in the room." "Hit me," I said. "I want you to hit me, because then I can defend myself." I kept moving toward him and my class was following me, eager and abuzz with excitement. Other kids started moving to other classroom doors and looking out.
"You ain't got my mom's permission!" he squealed as I applied the Pinch of Death to his trapezius, and he fell to the floor. I drug him back in my class by his shoes and picked him up and put him in his chair. T is more than twice as big as Rash, but I was making a point and would not be deterred. T has failed twice and uses his size to bully his classmates. "You big and tough, aintcha? You go hard," I said. "A 13-year-old bullying 11-year-olds. Well, you ain't such a much. I wish I was 13 again so I could teach you the lesson you deserve. STAY IN YOUR SEAT AND SHUT YOUR MOUTH."
The other kids in class were clapping and laughing and I asked who was next and then taught my lesson.
Do I enjoy this stuff? Hardly. After being sick for the third time in two weeks, I was frankly winded after rubbing Rash on the board. But it got my point across.
Thank God for the weekend. I am wiped!