“The first quality that is needed is audacity”.
– Winston Churchill
The first full week of school is in the bag. Seven days of fun including the previous Thursday and Friday, and I have already amassed a fairly impressive collection of firsts for the year from my freshmen, sophomores and juniors.
Friday provided me my first “excused-from-class-for-a-court-appearance” slip to sign and my first knowledge that one of my students has a P.O. to report to. Also my second, as a mom I spoke with confirmed that her son, as he stated in class, is on probation.
Thursday was my first “I don’t like you!” exclamation, though if you count the mumbled versions of that opinion, the kid who yelled it at me was probably only about number nine on that list.
Expectations aren’t always expected (or appreciated) by my students.
This week also provided me with a personal first: two classes at the same time. A fluctuating enrollment plus a computer system failure that has bollixed up our scheduling system has me losing my fifth period English II class, and gaining an Intermediate Composition class. The change was supposed to come next Monday, but instead, the system dumped my English II students out, gave us (I have an inclusion teacher in my classroom this year) the Comp kids. At least, in the computer system.
Only the English II kids weren’t reassigned yet, so we got them all from Wednesday on; 43 kids and two teachers Wednesday, down to 38 total bodies Thursday, back to 41 Friday. (Keep in mind it’s August, in New Orleans, in a forty-plus year old building with A.C. of the same vintage, last class of the day. Glad Friday was a cloudy afternoon with less sun beating down on our side of the building.)
Thursday (day six of school, and this is a new personal record, I believe) also marked the first ejection of the year from my classroom. It was that kid’s second day in my classroom. On the plus side, he is the early and clear front-runner for this year’s Excessive Use of Profanity in Casual Conversation award. Kid didn’t blurt our anything in anger, just kept upping the ante with more profane comments, questions and requests.
It was his final ‘request’ that got him tossed: “Hey, ****sucker, come here.”
I was able to use the kid to send a message, though.
Ignoring his highly inappropriate request as semi-noted above, I kept speaking with the student I was talking with at the time, not acknowledging Mr. Potty Mouth (MPM) in any way. I then walked back toward my desk, pushed the call button to the office and asked for someone to remove a kid from class. Those (the other 37 and my co-teacher, Ms. A) farther back in the room that didn’t hear MPM’s ‘request’ looked at me quizzically as they didn’t know what was going on up front, and I was not angry nor in confrontation mode. The Comp kids up front (MPM’s group) saw and heard it all.
When one of our disciplinarians, Ms. R, arrived at the door, I greeted her warmly, summoned MPM to join us, adding a slighty exaggerated, curled-finger ‘Come here, punk’ gesture. While he meekly protested, I informed her that her ears might get singed as MPM had quite the profane vocabulary. She smiled, nodded, said, “Oh, that will not be a problem with us, Mr. Lucker.” as she firmly told him to button and tuck in his shirt as she led him down the hall. With that I closed the door, glared silently for just a moment at the class, smiled. I then went over to someone who had previously raised their hand to answer their question. Rest of the day was relatively uneventful. Message delivered; we don’t play.
Which leads to my hands-down winner in the Strangest Student Conversation of the Week category. Thursday morning, I was standing at the front of my junior homeroom class, leaning on a table, chatting with a student and waiting for the announcements to come on. My arms were folded across my chest, and as it was early in the day, I was pretty fresh and at ease, coffee in travel mug at hand. Then came this exchange:
Me: (Puzzled, raising eyebrows, Groucho-style and glancing around with cartoonish suspicion) “Is there an earthquake? Is the building on fire? Something else going on I should know about? Any reason…I shouldn’t be calm?” Amused, I cocked an eye and looked at her. She frowned.
Girl #2: (An English student of mine last year) “He is always like that! He will bitch at you, but he hardly even raises his voice! It’s weird!”
I could not keep from smiling, and I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know what to tell you.”
Girl #1: “You upset, you yelling, but you calm. That’s creepy.”
Girl #2: “Oh, it truly is!”
Girl #1: “Well, I don’t like that! That’s…weird!”
Me: “What can I tell you? Sorry, ladies.” I had to turn away and shuffle some papers to keep a straight face. ‘Calm yelling.’ It is, apparently, what I am noted for.
And, we’re off.