How do I describe a day like today? For some reason the phrase “shit storm” comes to mind.
Block 1: Ok. 1st Block wasn’t too bad. I did have to confiscate several sheets of blank address labels. A student had stolen from the Science room (the teacher was gone and had a substitute) and had passed them out to several other kids who were now wearing them as mustaches. At the time I was really annoyed, but if I had known how the rest of the day was going to turn out, I would have let the whole class make fake mustaches and probably fake eyebrows as well.
Block 2: Tired of hearing the kids continuously break out into discussions regarding the crazy girl fight last week, I had to lay down the law. I reminded them that in my classroom, we do not engage in fighting and we do not talk about fighting. I told them if I catch them talking about school fights, they would have to call home and serve a lunch detention. A student responded:
Student: “What’s the big deal? It’s like 10 years later, and people still talk about 9/11.”
Me: “Don’t you dare compare a middle school girl fight to 9/11.” I was too frustrated to say anything else so I made the kids take a test.
Block 3: Although I made it through the Block without incident, as soon as I dismissed the class, all hell broke loose. In less than 5 seconds of the dismissal bell, I found myself diving through a crowd of 100 8th graders. I made it to the center of the chaos to find two girls on the floor. The 1st one was on her back on top of a teacher who had her restrained so she could no longer hit him. The 2nd girl, who is being pulled away by two other teachers, has both hands tightly gripped into the 1st girl’s hair. As the teachers begin to make some headway in separating the two, the 1st girl grabs the 2nd girl’s leg. The two teachers are now dragging all three of them down the hall while I am trying to hold back crowd. That’s when I notice a boy is repeatedly kicking the girl who is restrained. With one hand, I continue to hold back the crowd, while I pin the boy against the lockers with the other. He continues to kick her until I am able to get my body in between them. By then administration has arrived and I am off to write my 1st office referral of the day.
Block 4: (Students’ names have been changed to protect the innocent) After an… interesting day, 4th Block did not disappoint. Towards the end of the Block, I had a student go around and collect assignments. As I stood at the front of the room answering some questions I hear:
Student 1: “Well you’re DTF Jorge.”
At first I didn’t think much of it and the kids didn’t really react so I finished answering the question and gathered the assignments from my helper. As I’m straightening papers I hear:
Student 2: “Well you’re DTF Chavon.”
Student 3: “Well, you’re DTF Dylan.”
At this point I am at my desk with the papers. I set them down, flip open my laptop and google “DTF” (Now you have to understand, this whole process is taking approximately 30 seconds.
Just as a 4th student adds…
Student 4: “Well you’re DTF Miss Lewis”
… the results of my search pop up. "DTF= down to f—k, a phrase made popular by the MTV program, Jersey Shore." I can't believe it.
Student 4 and my eyes meet and I lose it. I slam both of my hands on the desk, casually walk to the center table, take a deep breath and I say “quite sternly”… yes let’s go with “sternly”…
Me: “This is what’s going to happen. I need to take a minute, so I am going to go over to my desk and write down a few names. If your name is on that list, you are going to be spending lunch detention with me today, tomorrow, Friday, and let’s just add all of next week as well. (Are you DTF with that?) Now, for the rest of the period, you are going to sit here in silence because I have some office referrals to write.” For the last six minutes, the only sound in the room came from my keyboard.
The only thing more uncomfortable than those 6 minutes, was listening to the students call their parents during lunch to explain what they had said during my class. One student was in tears before he even picked up the phone. Another one asked me, “How do I explain this in Spanish?” My response was, “Honey, you could probably say it in English and I’m sure there’s at least one word your mother will recognize.” While she talked to her mother, she had to hold the phone half a foot away from her ear because her mother was yelling so loudly. As she went to slam down the phone in mid conversation, I grabbed the phone and said, “You do NOT hang up on your mother!” She looked at me and mumbled, “Um, my mom was so mad that she just hung up on me.”