Friday, April 06, 2007

Dialing 9-1-1 and other crazy 6th grade shenanigans

I haven't blogged in over a month, but I have to tonight. Oh, what an awful day at work! I swear I feel like a total dummy. I have been teaching middle school (intermediate, junior high) for almost 19 years, and I have never been so terribly embarrassed in all my career as I was today. And not embarrassed in front of the students, but in front of my superiors. They must think I can't manage my classroom and that I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do, and that is not the case.

I have the same students for two class periods. Between the two periods, there is a five minute break in which they can go to their lockers, restrooms, whatever. Teachers are supposed to step into the hall to monitor, and let's face it, sometimes we have to go to the restroom, too.

Today, I did just that. I went to the restroom then stood in the hall for the remaining minute or so. All of a sudden, shortly after the bell as I was going back to my room, all hell broke loose. Two separate incidents. First, I had three boys running around the room. One of them lost his shoe, so they picked it up and started using it as a football. The biggest fellow is running, trips over the legs of a girl sitting on the floor actually doing her work, and falls into one of the smaller fellows who has been out sick for three days with fever and just got stitches in his chin about 5 days ago. Well, the boy with the stitches got knocked into the wall, and his stitches popped open and started bleeding. If that weren't enough, before this even happened, I had a student make five 9-1-1 calls from my teacher phone in a matter of 50 seconds. This was not in response to someone getting hurt. When the boy got hurt, the calls had been made already, so the two incidents were unrelated.

Needless to say, the students are all talking about it, and they never get their facts correct. Due to the 9-1-1 calls, the on-campus police officer was at my room in the course of one minute, and I was totally clueless as to why he was there. I didn't know the girl had made those calls. He was followed in the next minute by an assistant principal and the head-honcho principal. So, I have them there, a kid bleeding while I write him a pass to the nurse, and I have no idea what happened still.

All the students had to make statements, and they were very clear in letting the principal know that when I am in the hall, there is horseplay on almost a daily basis, and that this isn't the first time the girl has played with the telephone. Remember, I am supposed to monitor the hallway between class changes, and I can't see inside my room and do the monitoring at the same time. I will not be doing hall monitoring anymore while these kids are in my room, needless to say.

I was in a meeting about this for 45 minutes after school, and it's not over yet. I can just tell the principal thinks less of me. I've always been the "good" one who is where she's supposed to be at all times, who is on time, who turns in everything on time, doesn't send kids to the office on a regular basis, and so on. Well... these two incidents totally wipe all that off my slate!

I am so angry. And embarrassed. And frustrated. They want us to do things that will make learning fun for the kids, but how can I do that when they can't control themselves for five minutes? I don't know the consequences for the students yet, but I can guarantee I will get some parent phone calls - and why? For doing what I'm supposed to do by monitoring in the hall. They are supposed to go in and sit down, but they obviously don't. The student statements made it clear that there is frequent horseplay in the room between class changes. I guess I won't get to leave to go to the bathroom anymore, and they won't be doing anything but sitting at their desks and working from now on. I know it's not my fault since I was doing what I was supposed to do, but it will appear that I have never told them not to do this - which I have - countless times. The statements from the students make me appear to be an idiot. At least, that's how I feel. And in this litigious day and age, I am afraid someone is going to sue me for being negligent whether I was or not.

I had to get this off my chest. Thanks for reading.

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