- Calling a girl a "bitch"
- trying to stab students with super sharp snapped-in-half pencils
- twisting people's ears/arms
- lashing out and lunging at the principal, the case manager and the aides
- running around the building, in and out of classrooms, and into both the girl's & boy's bathrooms
- having to be restrained in a bear hug while growling and hitting adults
- making death threats
- telling people "he" wants to be the reason for a school-wide, code-red lockdown
Day 15: Whatchya Gonna Do?
Wow. What a week. You know how everyone says "Nowadays, all you see is sex and violence"? Well, this was a rather sexy and violent week. A week full of things no fourth grader should ever be exposed to. Dirty words...dirty pictures...violence...and yes, the police. Let's start with "this is funny", transition into "this should be serious, but it's still kinda funny", and wrap up with "this is just plain serious".
THIS IS FUNNY: A few days ago, it was literally "penis day"....and no, I did not have any slip-ups a la Clarissa from a previous blog post (although, ironically enough, my FIRST official principal observation is on THURSDAY!). Instead of accidentally calling someone "penis" in place of a kiddish nickname, I inadvertently kept drawing silhouettes of the male anatomy all over the board. Let me attempt to explain. The subject: Science. The topic: Trees/Leaves. The lesson: Go outside and record arboreal observations. On the back of their leaf/tree bark observation sheets, there is an x and y axis plotted out on which the students are roughly supposed to center the silhouettes of each tree. They're supposed to quickly draw the overall outline of the tree, showing where the branching begins, and the general shape that the branching makes atop the trunk.
Believe it or not, the sex continued outside - only now, we added vulgar language into the mix. What are the odds that on the same day I'm drawing phallic outlines all over the chalkboard, we go outside to observe our trees, only to have a student say, "Mr. D!! SOMEONE WROTE THE "F" WORD ON THE CEMENT WALL!"? "Don't worry guys...just focus on making your leaf observations and drawing your
penis tree silhouette outlines." After they settle down and the murmurs of "It says the 'F' word over there" come to a quiet close, I take a look at the graffiti I scrambled to cover with my clipboard. No joke - they were so distracted by the giant "F" word, that not ONE of them noticed the VERY GRAPHIC and VERY ANATOMICALLY correct erect twig & berries drawn right next to it. What's worse? Ummm...let's just say it was depicted "producing" some fluid and the "F" word was actually supposed to be paired with the other word written right next to it...as in, the kids should have shouted "Mr D!!! It says "F*CK GRAVY" on the wall!!!"
THIS SHOULD BE SERIOUS, BUT IT'S STILL KINDA FUNNY: I kicked one of my kids in the face. ....No, I'm just kidding. ...No...actually, I'm not. Remember Magdalena from my first day blog post? Well, I've come to learn she's a bit of a voluntary space cadet (i.e. she's a perfectly capable student who opts to check out). She's always zoned out and very rarely follows directions.... to the point where she's the only one on the playground because she "doesn't realize" the entire school has already come in from recess after they heard the bell go off.
Picture it: read aloud time. "Kids! Gather 'round for a reading of Shiloh!" All of the students come into the library and find their assigned places on the beanbags and carpet. Our student library assistant turns on the multicolored spotlights, the overhead lights go off, and my glasses come out as we begin the discussion of what happened the last time we read. On my stool, a couple feet above their heads, I swing my right leg over my left at full speed as I cross them by rote in preparation to dive into our juicy story. BAM! Magdalena (who was sitting waaaayyy too close to me on the ground) was leaning forward at the precise time my size 13 leather shoe was careening towards the previously empty space that was now occupied by her zoned-out, gaped-open mouth.
Shock. Horror. Secret hilarity at the bizarre coincidence of it all after the inevitable moment where you quickly imagine the footage making it onto AFV. She's stunned; completely frozen in place, gripping her chin in UTTER shock. I drop to the ground, take off my glasses and put my arms on both her shoulders and ask her incessantly if she's ok, while telling her repeatedly how sorry I was. Basically it sounded like this: BAM! "Oh my god! Are you ok!? I'm so sorry!!! Are you ok?!?! I'm so sorry!! Are you ok?!?! I'm so sorry!!". After what seemed like hours of stunned silence, she finally utters in her spaced out language "Am I bleeding?". Thankfully, she's not... no swelling either. I reassure her she looks absolutely fine, and I continue to stay on the floor with her while my students watch the drama unfold as if they were watching the elementary school version of one of those "Caught on Camera" shows from Tru TV. Thinking we're over the hump, finally after a couple minutes of stunned chin-holding silence, the shock of it all eases....and then she drops her head into her arms and begins to sob. Sob.
I had to call home once it was all over - because the last thing I wanted was the truth being lost in the translation of her space cadet language and it coming out sounding something like this: "MOM!! MR. D KICKED ME IN THE FACE TODAY!". So, after rehearsing several less incriminating ways to say "Hi Mrs. Magdalena! I was just calling to say I kicked your daughter in the face today!", I finally picked up the phone and dialed. While thinking of the hilarious Jerky Boys "You Kicked My Dog" skit and beginning to inappropriately laugh to myself, I start to mutter in nerves as the phone rings. "Don't pick up....don't pick up....don't pick up...don't pi-- Hello!?" Luckily, she was very sweet...and because I rehearsed it to myself first, I was able to get it all out without any awkward hiccups. "I just wanted to let you know that when I crossed my legs for our read aloud, Magdalena leaned forward at the exact same time and my shoe accidentally clipped her chin a bit....but luckily, she's doing just fine! No cuts...bruises...or bleeding. In fact, right now, she's playing happily outside at recess." Unreal - I've been here less than a month, and I'm kicking fourth graders in the face. Trust me, after that, I would have MUCH rather preferred I accidentally called her "penis" during an observation lesson. (Inside joke from previous blogpost).
THIS IS JUST PLAIN SERIOUS: Three words - "Dennis the Menace". I don't even have the energy to describe all of the crap he pulled over the course of these last few days. He has been EXHAUSTING. Here are just a few of the stunts he's pulled:
There are so many more - but all you need to know is it got so bad yesterday last period (my science period with him) and particularly after the bell rang as he headed back upstairs, that after about an hour of chaos and violent restraint, the police were called. Yup. Bad boys, bad boys....Whatchya gonna do? Whatchya gonna do when they come for a fourth grader? I'll tell ya whatchya gonna do: suspend him for the rest of the week, and recognize that the camel's back has indeed been broken. Apparently, after 5 dedicated years of attempted inclusion, the paperwork to get him out of our district has been filed immediately. The news gets broken to his parents in about 12 hours.... when I asked Clarissa how they'd react, she rather cavalierly said "They'll probably sue us...but they will have no case." I must say - Never in a million years did I ever expect to witness something like I did this week as an elementary school teacher.... We're all kind of still in shock.
at 11:11 PM