Bizarro World

My second period class was very pleasant today.

Wait ... that can't be right.


Usually this happens much later in the year, but ... there's this Kid in the class. I really really don't like him. Like, I don't even like him AS A PERSON. Usually if a kid just gives me fits in class, s/he at least has some kind of genial personality outside of the room.

But no.

I have tried EVERYTHING with That Kid. I have given him a warning, given him a write-off, called his mom, sent him to the office. That is all the steps on my discipline plan; I don't know what else to do.

I have tried ignoring him.
I have tried showering him with attention.
I have tried positive reinforcement.
I have tried negative reinforcement.
I have told him off in the hall.
I have told him off in the room.
I have complimented him in the hall.
I have complimented him in the room.
I have made him sit next to my desk.
I have made him sit in the middle of the room.
I have made him sit in the chair that is absolutely the furthest away from me.
I have given him more work.
I have given him less work.
I have begged.
I have commanded.
I have said please.
I have said DO IT.
I have tried bribery.
I have tried peer pressure.
I have tried gentle coaxing.
I have tried firm reminding.


He has become such an annoyance to me that, like Lisa in that episode of Saved by the Bell where she has to be pretend-married to Screech, I have developed a tic that occurs only when he is around me or when someone mentions his name. At this moment I am breaking into hives.

He is what a former principal of mine calls a Ding-Donger. That is, he is like a door-to-door salesman that won't go away:

DING-DONG Can I go to the bathroom?
DING-DONG What are we supposed to be doing?
DING-DONG But I was just ...
DING-DONG I wanted to ...
DING-DONG What does this word mean?
DING-DONG Where's the writing assignment?
DING-DONG Can I take a test?
DING-DONG I wasn't doing anything!
DING-DONG I need to read to you.
DING-DONG Are you calling my mom?
DING-DONG Pay attention to me! ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME


Last week, I noticed that the kids in two rows--TWO ROWS!--around him were all looking at the floor and giggling and most importantly, not doing their work. So I go over there to investigate, and the little chump has taken out a tape measure and is trying to get it to stretch from his chair in the back of the room up to the front wall. So I took the tape measure away and gave him a stern warning. After class, he has the AUDACITY to come up and ask for his tape measure.

"No," I said. "I'll give it to your mom when she comes up for a conference with me."

"Aw, whaddya gotta call my mom for?" he whined, while I did my best not to incinerate him with my eyeballs.

He is just ... there is no winning with him. There is NO WAY that I am going to win this battle, that's all. He has the most obnoxious personality, and it is like the black plague in that classroom; he infects everyone that comes in contact with him.

[And I am itching like a son of a -- right now. Darn That Kid!]

So today, the little darling comes up to my desk almost immediately after the bell rings. He's been in the room for four minutes, by the way, and there are six minutes between bells.

"I need to go to the office," he says.

"Why?" I ask, and I am not in the mood.

"I need to call my mom."

"Bring me your agenda," I said. Hey, anything that gets him the heck out of my room.

He comes back up, and I notice that he's used all his hall passes for the quarter.

"Sorry," I say. "You can't go."

And he just put on his most heartbroken face, like I am going to fall for that, come ON, and says, "But Ms. Flower, I really need to call my mom!"

Pah. Sure he does. So I say, "Well, I'll have to call the office and have an administrator come and get you."

Immediately his little crocodile tears dry up. "Whaddya gotta do that for? I just wanna go to the office! You don't have to do that!"

"You're out of passes. I have to call the office if you want to leave. THAT'S WHAT THEY TOLD US TO DO." And while I sometimes find paperwork and procedure as conducted in our building to be time-consuming and tedious, I have never been more in love with bureaucracy as I was at that moment. I could have married me some red tape right then.

"I guess I don't need to go," he muttered through his teeth, and then he stomped back to his desk.

"Okay!" I said cheerily.

But then, almost before I could catch my breath, there he was back again, right at my side.

DING-DONG "Go ahead and call an administrator," he said, as though he was daring me to do it.

Pssshhh. I LOVE calling the office, and in my head, I was all UP in That Kid's face: "Fine, I WILL!" but instead I just walked calmly over to the intercom button and requested an administrator.

When Mrs. AP came in the room, I explained to the situation to her. "Thank you so much for DOING WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO," she said [emphasis mine].

"Nooooo problem," I replied. "[Kid], here's your ride."

And as they went out in the hall, I heard Mrs. AP say, "You know this means you're getting a detention, right?"

"WHAT? Whaddya gotta do that for? ... mumble mumble ... I don't want to go then."

"Too late," she said, and then I couldn't hear anything else over the raucous laughter in my head.


So that was a very long backstory for my real topic, which is: my second period class was a joy today.


But the fact that That Kid was not in the room meant that NO ONE was being tempted away from their work. NO ONE was being talked to or bullied or pinched or poked or bothered. NO ONE was being distracted by my constantly having to say, "Kid, STOP THAT," or "Kid, WORK," or "Kid, GO TO THE HALL."

The room was quiet, the students were industrious, and I didn't have a gigantic migraine headache when the bell rang.

Stories were being read, sentences were being written, tests were being taken. They sat in their desks and they faced the front and they pushed their pens across their papers and I was getting all verklempt watching them, they were so cute there doing their little classwork.

It wasn't just the students who were getting things done, either; normally I can only do about ten conferences per period because That Kid requires so much attention. But I totally did twenty-five conferences today. That is a LOT!

Just the removal of ONE CHILD gave all of us the gift of time, and the gift of peace, and the gift of NO EYE-SEARING RAGE. And I found that I was not, as I usually am, emotionally and physically exhausted by the massive amounts of energy that I expend, trying to keep That Kid from completely destroying the classroom-like atmosphere.

As I told Mac, later, "It's the first time I've enjoyed that class in WEEKS."

And I am wondering ... how can I get him out of the room next time?


Lady S said...

OH gawd, I had this kid in literacy (90 minutes) last year. For the first 6 weeks he was super. I had him in tech in K and 1, so I was expecting the worst and was surprised. And then it came.

I had 7 kids and it felt like 10. He was lively. This year I have him just for 30 minutes and that is plenty!

Good luck.

Mei said...

My sister Joon says:
I had one like that last year. xxxxxx. You've heard me talk about him. I have one like that from [Team Teacher]'s class and one like that in my class. But they are not as annoying as the kid you described. I do have a couple that I care not to see at school. Ever. So I totally know how you feel. I think EVERY teacher has "one of those."

And I say:
Thanks for the good luck wishes, Lady S!
I agree that every teacher has one. But no kid has ever gotten under my skin so quickly or so thoroughly. And to think that I have to spend the rest of the year with him ... I need a sedative.


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