7th period is That Period. the bad one. the one that drives me the craziest.
it’s mostly a dynamics issue. 8 of the 18 just don’t belong together in one classroom. but alas, the room’s not big enough to separate them as they require.
so we’re at the tail end of an excerpt fromÂ richard rodriguez’s autobiographyÂ – i’m building to the climax, the epiphany, the “aha” moment when an entire period of childish, stupid behavior on the part of my sophomores and juniors leads me to shut down the class. i’ve had enough. i’ve already had to remove one student and was close to removing a second. six others are just being disruptive, talking, trying to distract me and others, texting on cell phones, arguing with my aide – it just sent me over the top.
so i informed them: you’re on your own. finish reading it by yourselves. the 30 questions? due tomorrow at the end of the class. i was going to do them with you – now? sorry. oh, and don’t forget the test on friday. now, zip it.
and the trouble students in the class managed to zip it for about 10 minutes. then a couple more referrals had to be written.
and my 10 students who listen, participate, and don’t give me crap? their faces were like, “oh, hell no!” but they kept it together and most of them started working on finishing the story and answering the questions.
and i was so damned angry on the way home. the extent of my anger was illogical, almost blinding. and i realized that what i did wasn’t fair to my non-asshat students.
so i stopped and bought a case of cokes and rootbeer and a couple snacks. i wrote out my list of students who were going to get got, and those who weren’t. i ran it all by my department chair and a couple others (thumbs up all the way) and then laid my trap.
and 7th period, students come in and see pop and snacks and eyes light up. especially those of the soon-to-be-banished. everyone gets seated and i wrote the names of those who would not be joining us on the board. to the rest of them i said, “grab a book, a desk, a pencil, and think about what you want to drink and eat, and let’s get in a circle!” to those getting the boot, i said, “you guys can get a book, a pencil, and paper, and go to the library where you’ll do all 30 questions, then study for tomorrow’s test.”
and the looks on their faces – it was indescribable. and frankly, the glee i felt at seeing it was probably inappropriate, the groaning and whining only adding to my satisfaction.
and the ten who stayed back with me – we took the exam together and had a good discussion about the main points of the book over cokes and snacks. and 10 A’s were given.
tomorrow? the other 8 get to take the test on their own while today’s group gets a free period.
i’ll try not to be so gleeful, promise.
“Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.” but in 7th period? i’m the lord. deal with it.