Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 30 2010

Real Problems

Somehow, students who are hell-on-wheels during one period can be angelic and crazy-invested the next. It just shows you not to go by what you hear in advance. Somehow, sixth-graders can go from baby elementary-school babies to flat-out teenagers with teenager issues. One of my girls, sweet and round-faced and helpful, said to me in the sweetest little elementary school voice, “Me and my sisters, we bad.” When I asked her to explain, she said, “the boys are afraid of us because we like to fight. We beat them with belts.” I can’t imagine her angry, not to mention violent. Still smiling so sweetly, still helping me set up for class, still a baby.

I finally get my first period class calmed down (literally chasing each other in circles around the room) and lined up at the door to lead them to second period. I can tell the hallway is louder than usual, but it’s not until I open the door that I realize I really shouldn’t have. A full-on brawl, surrounded with students packed in and screaming at the top of their lungs, is taking place two classrooms down, and students and teachers alike are pouring out of classrooms to take part in (or to try and break up) the action. My class squeezes out of the doorway around me and takes off toward it at a sprint. Two of my students in 2nd period, bless their hearts, were involved, but I didn’t even know until later that day because they were absolute angels in class. That number was almost three, but apparently a fellow corps member (who came away from the action bleeding, fyi) didn’t heed her plea that “my friend is pregnant, miss, I have to go fight for her!”

There is an impossible amount to do tonight, but somehow I remembered before it was too late that I’d promised (read: threatened) to call the home of one of my students in return for his behavior in first period today. Cheers for consistency. And it might have been a really productive conversation… except she was drunk.

And now my job is to transition from that conversation to finishing the five-plus hours of work left to do tonight… And so I shall.

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    High School

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    “The minute you think of giving up, think of the reason you held on so long.” - John Maxwell


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