"Shut the F up you bitch!"
Tiffany was giving her presentation when suddenly she broke out in that torrent of curse words. She was yelling at someone who had whispered something to her. I didn't hear it. I put her in the hallway to figure things out. It was a kid Rashawn in the front row. He was whispering to someone else, she thought he was talking about her, confronted him, and he whispered back that she was a B.
The kids all wanted to jump him because he got her in trouble. And he's always starting stuff.
Tiffany's in the hall, crying. Saying she's going to get him.
I walk her down to Guidance. I pull him out, take him to a different, empty classroom. I have no phone and can't get anyone there to help me. The class seems like it could be on the verge of really banking this kid.
By the end of the next period - which, thankfully, and ironically, included an assembly about safety and conflict - both kids were in the Guidance office with the counselor and I, talking it out. She's so good. Told the kids that this was something insignificant, that apologies needed to be said, and that they would come out in five minutes smiling about it. We left, and five minutes later, Rashawn and Tiffany exited, with the appropriate grins.
I made Rashawn stay, because this kid's one of the brightest kids in the class yet is failing. I had the counselor pull his grades. 55, 50, 55, 60, and 70. Does no homework at all. Gets 90s on quizzes. We talk about strategies he must undergo for success.
I take him back to the classroom and give him a planner that the MSU people gave me when they came to my school to try to recruit. I teach him how to use it. Now it's third period.
Kids shuffle in and I begin my lesson. At the moment when we're about to begin presentations, there's a PA announcement for me. The Assistant Principal is requesting my presence in an IEP meeting for an autistic kid I teach a few periods later in the day. Apparently this meeting for one student is more important than the 33 students who sit in front of me in my classroom, confused and rambunctious. I had no notice that I would be required to attend the meeting, and, even when I go there, I add nothing other than I alreay wrote down. He's a nice kid. He works hard. He doesn't score well on quizzes or tests. That's what I wrote.
I return to my class after it ends and the room is nearly trashed. I left my worst class and they took advantage of it.
It's lunch period. Justin stops by to see me. I taught Justin 9th grade and 11th grade. One of the brightest kids I've ever taught. He's applying to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he'll probably make it. Not only is he very bright (SAT scores through the roof), and a hard worker (nearly perfect GPA), but he's also an African American male. So he'll have his choice of a college. And it's MIT, and has been for a while.
The thing with Justin, though, is the details. I'm happy to write him a letter, but he needs it by Thanksgiving. Most students give teachers a few weeks. Most teachers require it. Not Justin. I'm going to do it, but it takes a while to write a good letter of recommendation that doesn't sound like every other letter of recommendation. Justin's will be good. He's a special kid (not only is he a great student, taking the very toughest courses, but he's a varsity athlete). But I wish I were writing it in my head for a few weeks before I actually had to sit down and write it. I'm the token Humanities teacher doing him one, though, so it's my job to tell these folks that this is a well-rounded, unique, intelligent kid who is more than just a great scientific mind.
Next period, I have students get into groups with their drafts they brought today, for a spirited peer review. As I usually do, students who don't come prepared go off to the side, while I figure out what to do with them. The thing is, in this class, it ends up being 2/3 in this group, and only 1/3 in the completion group. I'm pissed off and I make it known. I send them in the hallway and get the rest of the class started on their activity. Then I lecture them about life in the hallway, not before shushing them about talking while out there, saying, "Excuse me, you didn't bother to come prepared to my class, and now my plan for the day has to be adjusted, and now you're interrupting my instructions to the rest of the class that is prepared. Be quiet."
Class goes well after that, but I hate being mean.
Tenth period, my favorite class, shuffles in next. I start class by sending one student around the building, telling her to come back in ten minutes. I need to lecture the class and don't want to embarass her. Then I send three other students in the next room so I can lay into them privately. Then I tell the rest of the class that the group performance yesterday was an embarassment. One person did all the group's work, and noen of the rest of them could even answer questions. I tell them that I expect never to see a presentation like that again. Then I go talk to the three kids. I tell them that their work was not up to standards. The girl in charge of summary took hers from Sparknotes, and I explained this was plagiarism. "But I typed it up myself!" she retorted, and actually believed it. Just because you don't know how to copy and paste doesn't make it not plagiarism...
And then I head out to my class, where I finish all the work before class and some during class. The class remains stupendously bad. I'm there until 9:15pm. I head home. It was a long day.