What a strange day. Today I had the boys for our much dreaded three period block right after lunch. I think that we have mutually resolved with one another that it will take at least 30 minutes for the boys to exert even a modicum of self-restraint, that much horseplay and wrestling must transpire, and that many threats and a call to the security officers must be made before any work may commence.
As a special education teacher, I understand a lot of this. I try to take it in stride. I saw these kids in action last year. After one coverage with them at the beginning of the year, I adamantly refused to take another. Ever. They were a wild, scary bunch. When I was informed that I was being assigned to them as their seventh grade literacy and social studies teacher, I vowed to quit.
And then I vowed not to quit.
And now they are mine.
They are loud, unpredictable, and often emotionally unsettled. And although I view my classes with true skepticism as to my efficacy, I have been acknowledged by my administration for "getting them under control." That is "admin speak" for keeping them in the damn room, out of the hallways, and preferably not injuring anyone in the process.
But getting them to learn how to read is what I HAVE to do. And that's a totally separate post.
Anyhow ... back to Oz.
In order to keep them engaged for the three periods, I prepare many small activities. A couple of the boys have attention disorders, so a "writing workshop" block in the traditional sense rarely works. So I only do it rarely. And never during a triple period. Ever.
So by switching activities about every 20 minutes, I cover all sorts of ground in terms of subject matter. 20 minutes of of phonics, 10 minutes of flashcards, 15 minutes of journal writing, 20 minutes of reading strategies, and so on.
Today I must have dazzled them with my array of activities. Gangsta Thug Boy (GTB), age 14, was particularly engaged. He evidently forgot about his classroom "bitch" (could their love be fading away??? Is this role playing coming to an end?) when this tidbit hit the air:
"Yo! Mr. B is smart! You the smartest man I ever know!"
I pretend to ignore the compliment while secretly relishing every word. I continue teaching.
"Mr. B is smart. You smart, Mr. B! Mmmmmmmmm. I'd do-ooooooooo you!"
How do you respond or non-respond to that? I mean, what do you do?
It totally caught me off guard.
I was all .... Ack! Ick! Ew! Inappropriate!
And picking up the pace of the lesson again was difficult, to say the least.
Maybe GTB is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Who knows.
Today's lesson from Oz: Love thy captor. Love your warden.