Middle school boys

Things kids say October 12th, 2007

As some of you may not clearly understand the depths of idiocy middle schoolers can sink to, I present an actual conversation from school yesterday. (Guess which class?) Quotes are approximate.

During bell work, a silent warm-up activity allowing me to take roll, check homework, tell off tardy kids, and so forth, student A raises his hand and requests to throw away an empty plastic water bottle. I tell him to wait until he’s on his way out of class. He says okay, and places the empty bottle on the table.

We all go back to work. A bit later, the bottle falls over with a clatter. Student A picks it back up.

A bit later still, the bottle falls over again. Student A picks it up again, and glares at student B, whom he clearly believes responsible for the situation. Student B grins pseudo-innocently. I glare at both students and make a “knock it off” gesture.

And then the bottle falls over again. A strident voice can be heard, shattering the quiet of bell work. It’s student A. “Stop [expletive] knocking over the [expletive] bottle!” Student B grins.

I intervene. To student B: “Leave the bottle alone.” To student A: “Relax. It’s an empty bottle.”

Student A goes back to work. Student B pretends to fiddle aimlessly with a piece of paper lying on the table, which is what he is using to knock over the bottle while remaining safely out of harm’s way. Student A glares. I make more “knock it off” gestures.

And then the bottle falls over again. At this point, student A has had it. He stands up, leans in over the table toward student B, and roars, “I am not [expletive] playing with you! Stop [expletive] knocking over the [expletive] bottle, you [expletive]!” Student B grins. “What are you [expletive] smiling about?” student A demands.

At this opportune moment, student C chimes in. His contribution? “Fight, fight, fight!” I silence him with a glare.

I calm students A and B and manage to get through the remainder of the class without incident. (Student A cleverly moves the bottle off the table onto the floor, where student B eyes it but leaves it alone.) After class, I discuss with student A the inadvisability of using profanity in the classroom, as well as the unlikelihood of student B ceasing to provoke when it’s working so well. I discuss with student B his motives in prolonging this confrontation. It turns out to be simple.

“He was saying stuff about my family,” explains student B.

I discuss with student B more constructive ways to deal with this situation. He agrees that telling me and letting me deal with it might work better in the future.

To quote Dave Barry: I am not making this up.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply