I have a very social group of 8th graders this year. Not uncommon; middle schoolers are social by nature, brain research proves this. But I also have a very smiley, very “cute” boy who transferred in this year. Now, understand, I am one of those people who lets kids tell me who they are… I don’t seek out past teachers’ experience with students because often they grow up between 7th/8th grade and sometimes there are just personality conflicts.
So, anyway, today was said boy’s second day back after being suspended for 2 days. Boy began our block with singing… “please stop singing”… “I wasn’t singing”… .ok, fine, whatever, just stop. I began reading aloud a detailed story from Amy Tan… boy is throwing small pieces of paper…I stop… read again… now boy is mouthing whole conversations… I stop…. read again… look up, boy is blowing spit bubbles. *Really????* Spit bubbles? In the 8th grade? I calmly ask boy to remove himself to the hallway so I can finish actually teaching the rest of my students. During the break I talk to the boy.. do you know what is expected of you in a classroom? (yes.) Then what is the deal? (I don’t know… grin)…. What is your plan? (I don’t know … grin)…. ugh… that grin, complete with dimples infuriates me…. but I just state what boy will do the rest of the class (his assignment without distracting). Boy writes his name, then tells me I can’t make him work.
Nope, I can’t make him work… I can punish him but I can’t actually make him work. He has to accept my authority as teacher. As frustrated as I am… I am also sad… sad because the child is setting really bad habits, sad because he has a gender-authority issue (he never causes a problem for our male teachers) and sad because he is SO smart, but refuses to show it. And natural intelligence can only get you so far…. I’m at a loss… so I guess I just pray…. and keep my temper buried.
Needed to get that our, sorry!