Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Yo-Yo kind of day

I have a student, whom I'll call Tim, in one of my morning classes. Good-looking, dresses in expensive clothing (albeit 10 sizes too large and no belt), but doesn't really like being told what to do, especially by adults. You know who they are- the first sign of confrontation (to them, anyway) results in them digging their heels in deeeeep and becoming total asses. In front of the whole class. They might even be thinking to themselves at the time, "Now how do I get myself out of this situation I've created?" But their pride and self-image prevents them from stepping away. As the adult, it's my job to recognize this behavior for what it is and not make matters worse. Too often, though, adults don't or won't recognize it, and push ahead. I admit it. I've done it. But calling a kid out and embarrassing them in front of their peers doesn't work.

Tim decided to test my limits last week. And when ever there is a confrontation I know I will win. But not embarrass them. So I took the student out in the hall and tried to reason with him: these are my class rules. They are here for your safety. You will follow them, there are no ifs, ands, or buts. I want you to be able to get the most out of my class, please do as I ask.

We go back in the room and he proceeds to continue his behavior. He gets sent to the office.
He comes back in the the next day and continues the behavior. He immediately gets sent to the office for corrective action. When he gets back I explain I will be calling his house and talking to his mother.
So I'm dreading 170 odd days of show down that will undoubtedly escalate to much worse than passive aggressive behavior.

Today he comes in and he's a new man! He was pleasant, he greeted me, he shared stories of his life with me. Told me a story about seeing transvestites as a small boy and thinking they were "Pretty". Which earned him the nickname "Fruit" by his older brother.

He was so different, and the experience in that class was so different that I still get goosebumps.

That class might just end up my favorite.

Oh, and the Yo-Yo part? My last class has turned into boneheads.They spent so much time being argumentative that they did not get to do the lab. That's the second time it has happened. I'll be spending my planning period calling parents tomorrow...


Joan of Argghh! said...

Man, that kid must have some good meds! Or a scary mom. Or both...

Erica said...

It wasn't all that long ago that I was in high school, so I do sometimes pinch myself and think, "My God? I'm friends with teachers?"

And then to be privy to their thoughts on their blogs? Teachers?? It's the craziest thing.