Sunday, May 14, 2006

Loud Boy

Do you remember the Louds? The family from a Saturday Night Live skit about a family who had no volume control?

I have one of their kids in my third period class. He is absolutely the loudest student I have ever encountered (other than the autistic child who screamed all the time. But again, that was back in the days when I worked in Special Ed.).

I don't think he knows how to whisper. He's the same charmer who hit me in the head with a straw during the STAR test a few weeks ago. Disruptive isn't a strong enough word for him.

Now, he's not a bad kid. He's not mean to others (except for Beauty Queen, on which every boy in class has a crush. And in that oh-so-junior-high way of showing affection, on whom massive teasing, mockery, and general annoyance is heaped.). He knows what manners are, just chooses never to use them.

He just never. Shuts. Up.


I've told him I don't need to know every thought every moment one passes through his brain. I know for sure, every student in class doesn't need to know it.

One on one? Outside the class to have a little... um... conference about his behavior? He's all business.

"Yes. I understand." "I'm sorry Ms. Jhsteacher, I know I need to be quiet."

He gets serious and appears to be listening. Then goes back into the classroom and starts singing about how "It's getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes" at the top of his lungs.

At Unnamed Junior High School, eighth graders are not allowed to participate in the graduation ceremonies, or the after party, if they get poor citizenship marks in more than one class. A "4" is exceptional, a "3" is satisfactory, "2" means the student's behavior needs improvement, and a "1" means the kid is actually disrupting class. There is no "0" score, or Loud Boy would be earning it.

I've been warning some kids again and again; they don't have much time to get their act together if they want to improve their marks. It's not as if I'm known as an easy mark, or a pushover, but somehow, in that eighth-grader-itis way, they don't think it's going to happen to them.

Why? Why, with 5 weeks left, with that last week really fluffy fun stuff, why can't they just keep it together? The weather continues to be foggy and dull every day, so it's not as if they're wistfully staring out the windows, wishing they could be in the sunshine. Memorial day isn't even here yet.

I have to go to school now, and fill out the last "progress reports" that go home this year. Their last chance to turn things around, and their parent's last official notification (my frequent phone calls aren't always taken seriously), before the final semester grades go out in June.

Wouldn't it be fabulous if this was the year no one in any of my classes earned less than a "3" for behavior?

A girl can dream, can't she?


Dennis Fermoyle said...

I am a 55 year old social studies teacher in Northern Minnesota, so I'll warn you that I'm probably more "old school" than what you're used to. I am a rookie at blogging, and from what I've seen so far, the other teachers who do this are more tolerant than me. They seem to take almost full responsibility for their students' learning upon themselves, and although I don't think that's a good thing, I admire their dedication. In any case, I think "Loud Boy" is loud because he can be. One thing critics of public education don't understand is that we don't have a lot of tools to deal with kids that are intent on being disruptive, like this one seems to be. There was a time when a disruptive kid had to worry that a teacher might get physical with him, and he also had to worry that he might get kicked out of a class permanently. I wouldn't want to see a return to the days when a teacher might slap a student, but I do think teachers need the power to remove kids from their classes if they become detriments to the education of the other kids. It sounds like Loud Boy fits into that category. I really believe that if we had that power, we'd rarely have to use it. Loud Boy doesn't sound stupid, and I get the impression that he's perfectly capable of controlling his behavior. I'll bet if Loud Boy thought there was a realistic chance that he could get kicked out of this class, he'd become Quiet Boy in a hurry.

Dennis Fermoyle said...

I just wanted to add that I really enjoyed your post. You have "real" problems like the rest of us, and you don't pretend you have all the answers. I think any "real" teacher would appreciate that.

OKP said...

Well, at least the SNL writers knew that loud can be funny -- under the right circumstances. They never, not once, did a running sketch on late work.

That's my Peeve to End all Peeves right now -- kids trying to save their bacon by asking what make-up work they can do. I circle the stuff I'll accept, mark it down accordingly, and we'll both have made our efforts.

Sorry -- off topic! Anyway. I'm glad you only have one. I think the clan settled near my school and conquered my last period!

JoAnne said...

After coming home with my hair standing on end and the stress oozing from pores, it is SO exhilirating to read another teacher's account of life in the crazy world of pre-teenagers! I have endured a year of a "loud boy" who I believe lives in a bubble of denial. No matter how much he is corrected or punished, he continues to have "diarrhea of the mouth" during class time. I correct him so much that I actually mumble his name in my sleep! Today, I had the joy of watching him line up two chairs while making loud gurgling noises and proceed to lie down and act out a fish scene....all this he did while he was suppose to grade his spelling test. Of course, when I asked him to stop, his response was the same: "What? I'm not doing anything!!" The joys of Junior High:/

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

I am lucky. I can send 'em out if they can't shut it.

I've had parents call me if their kid didn't get the highest mark for behavior, which for me, means you have to be exceptional. Just sitting with your mouth shut is not exceptional behavior, especially if it's because you're not paying attention.

I'm sure that you would like some of that right now out of loud boy, though.