Trouble; It Starts with Tee

I'm not a Dress Code Nazi by any means, but when the administration makes a big deal about enforcing rules, I'm gonna have my eagle eyes out.

We have had SO MANY discussions about dress code this year, and a lot of it has to do with clothing that could be related to gang activity. Right now, Randomville High is sort of utopian, in that we only have a couple of (known) gang members. But, given our proximity to The Metropolis, which is gang-heavy and looking to move to the suburbs, our entire adult community is very worried about having gangs move into our 'hood, as it were.

Evidently, what is going to keep gangs out of our schools is making our kids wear jeans whose crotches don't go to the knees and making sure the boys tuck in their shirts that are longer than their front pants pockets. (I don't make the rules, okay? But if I did, I would make one that says KEEP YOUR BOOBS IN YOUR SHIRTS BECAUSE I DON'T NEED TO SEE THAT).

I have this one student, G, who is of COURSE in my lovely third period class. He is not a discipline problem, though he is a very slow (read: unmotivated/lazy) worker. And every day, he comes into my class with his shirt untucked.
Now, it is one thing to have your shirttail out if it is short enough that it comes untucked when you sit down. It is QUITE another to have your gimungous sports jersey hanging down to your KNEES. So every day, I say, "G, tuck in your shirt." AND HE DOESN'T DO IT.

This has been going on for three weeks (that is seven days of class). Today I didn't even bother to talk to him. I just called the office and asked for an administrator, because I am about fed up with that b.s. Of course, when the assistant principal showed up, G was all surprised when I called him out into the hall. "What'd I do?" Grrr.

I explained the situation to Mrs. B and went back in the room to get the class going. About five minutes later, Mrs. B called me outside again and said, "Ms. Flower, do you think this child deserves another chance?" I said, "I would, except that I have told him EVERY DAY to tuck in his shirt, and he never does it."

She replied, "Well, if he does this one more time, you send him to me and I'll write him up." I agreed and Mrs. B started talking to G, who was looking all I'm better than this and you can't tell me what to do.

"G," she said, "do you understand that you will be written up if this happens again?"

"Yes." (sullen voice)

"I know Ms. Flower has talked to you about this many times. Do you know what you've done wrong?"

"Yes." (mutter)

"Do you understand the meaning of the word defiance?"

"Yes." Mrs. B began to get a little ticked off at G, because he was being sooo like, I'm just telling you what you want to hear but as soon as you're gone I'm gonna untuck my shirt and what are you gonna do about it?

She tried again. "Do you know the meaning of the word respect?"


"Are you sure? Do you know what respect is?"


"No, you don't," she broke in. "And I know you don't because you haven't once said, 'Yes MAAM,' and you are not treating anyone here with respect."

(I live in the South, y'all. Maam is sort of expected, especially when you are in trouble).

"Ms. Flower," said Mrs. B, "you just forget everything I told you. I'm taking this child to the office right now and I'll write him up."

Of course, you don't know Mrs. B, but I'm telling you, she does not lose her temper. Ever. So the fact that G got on HER nerves with his passive-aggressive game means that I am not just being sensitive when he gets on my own nerves. Plus, he annoyed her in less than ten minutes, and I have been dealing with him ALL YEAR.

So ten minutes later, G walks into the classroom. With his shirt tucked in. I tried not to feel all triumphant about getting a kid in trouble, but I admit that I did say a little HA! inside my head.


Anonymous said...

I'm 15 and just moved to south with my family I thought u could help with a ? i have on manners Do adults expect to hear yes or yes maam when being answered? I hear it alot more and not used to it. new school is big on it and told me to ask fr help lol. Do i just say it when answering a question? when do u expect it for sure? sorry to bug u just thought u can help
ps i found your blog from a searcg of maam and teacher lol our dress code is way worse then your schools oh my email is Veronispd@aol.com

Mei said...

Oh, honey. It is always hard for the northerners.
My personal philosophy is "Better safe than sorry" and I always said maam to everything. I still do, actually, to older women and people in authority.
If you don't like saying maam, or it doesn't feel comfortable, I would just use it in the most serious cases, such as when you are in trouble and the principal is asking you questions.
Good luck and welcome to the South!


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