Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Sunflower seeds and bubblegum, it's not pretty"

Overheard yesterday morning as I passed a cluster of 7th grade boys. Sometimes I wish I had a miniature tape recorder to catch all the things I've heard.

Had to send a boy who's normally a good kid to the office yesterday; he and another boy were throwing an eraser back and forth, I told them to stop, helped another student, and the two first boys kept throwing the thing.
"I can still see you two."

"I can see you too, so?"

This from a boy with whom I've never had any trouble, who's never been rude to me.

"Excuse me? You need to get to work, not take that tone with me." (shades of my mother coming out)

"Just a minute." And he doesn't look up.


Now, I'm rather dumb-founded. I know for some of you, this might be an everyday occurrence, but I'm not used to kids just blowing me off like this. This boy is in my reading class, meaning all the kids are at least two years behind in their reading ability. It's full of knuckleheads, and I'm more strict in here than in other classes. If I wasn't, it would just be chaos.

"You know what, you need to go outside until you can act like a student." I have a timer, and set it for two minutes. All the kids know they won't be outside forever; it's a junior high style of "time-out." Sometimes it's just a way to let the kid calm down, and sometimes it's for me, so I don't start yelling at the kid.

"Okay, just a minute." He doesn't look up once, just keeps working in his book. The class has now gotten silent.

This behavior is amazing to me from this boy. He's normally a squirrelly seventh grader, he has a hard time focusing, but this tough guy act is brand new.
"Victor, you need to go out now." and I walk over to his desk. He gets up, strolls out, and under his breath, says,
"Okay, strawberry shortcake."

What the hell? I was wearing a pink sweater, is that where that came from? Is it some weird slang I don't get? What does that mean?

I have to call his mother today.

Oh joy.

Otherwise, the poetry lesson teams are going very well, for the most part. I'm out tomorrow, the day before Spring Break, so we'll see what kind of storm lets loose while I'm gone.

I may not be posting for the next week or two (what else is new?) because I'll be drinking wine, tasting cheese, and hacking up the French language on the streets of Paris!


graycie said...

Ah yes -- the first spring hormone jolt of a seventh grader. This is the year they turn form sweet children (well, pretty much) to hormone driven teenagers. Attitude and sex ooze from every pore. That's why I moved from middle school to high school -- thinking to escape that.

how's that working? It's a little milder, but still there.

nobodyknows said...

Man, when they're 8th graders, that tone is part of the language. I deal with this stuff all the time, which is not to say you don't deserve to take your own tone with your students.

It's strange, sometimes, when the students get the idea that they're not in school to do anything but hang out. You have to take the time to enforce the rules.

If I were to look back on myself as a teacher entering into the school system, I'd have said to myself: "Dude, chill out. The kid was just having a good time."

Speaking to myself now, I'd probably say: "Dude, that kid's being a dick. It's time to get out the teacher-voice."

It is, though, the spring aging of the kids. 7th graders suddenly act like they're older. 8th graders, who've spent the entire year pretending to be in high school realize they've only a handful of opportunities to prepare for the next year.

Spring break, though. Enjoy yours in Paris!

Polski3 said...

Please let us know what his Mom had to say about this behavior. I may just STRANGLE the next parent in a conference who tells me, "Oh well, they are acting like that at home too....." in a "la-de-dada" tone of voice.......

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Do you have red hair? Wearing a bonnet and a Little-House-On-The-Prairie dress? No? Then he was being a little turd.

You had to go there, or chaos would ensue.

Anonymous said...

That would have simply infuriated me, and I would have sent him out of the room for the period.

As for Paris, um, I'm not sure this is the best time to go, with the Student Protests and all. But trust me: the Metro's not that hard to navigate, if you're not afraid of heights going to the top of the Eiffel Tower is a must and be sure to take an entire day to see the Louvre (and get there super early!!).

Mollay said...

I've just finished reading your entire blog, and I must say, I'm hooked.
Reading this makes me thankful that I've got enough brains to have gotten me through my seventh-and-eighth-grade "career" as they call it, quietly.

Enjoy enjoy enjoy your Spring Break, I'm on mine at the moment (Just returned from Tampa with a terrible sunburn. Score!)

I'm honestly looking forward to your next post, even if I am just a wee little ninth grader.