Well last week was...well...hell on earth.
Let's face it, it's been a beastly semester. The sixth graders we had been warned about lived up to their reputation, and then some. And there are times we look at each other and wonder if we're working in a school or a mental health facility. Too many incidences of kids having screaming, kicking, crazy melt-downs and having to be removed by the SRO (in handcuffs no less). The kids are off the chain behavior-wise, and we're busy just trying to make it Four And A Half More Days.
And My Happy Little Portable was full to the brim this past week.
Usually, I have 6-8 kids. That's ideal. That's perfect. That gives me a chance to get to know the kids, sit down with them, help them, and generally it makes for an awesome day.
But this week? Let's see...12 on Monday, 11 on Tuesday, 12 on Wednesday, 14 on Thursday and 15 on Friday. I was running out of seats. And the administrators were running out of patience with these kids. Most of them, truth be told, were kids I'd had multiple times. Frequent flyers so to speak. So they know the drill. But 15 of them in there is not a good situation. I have to really lay down the law and get a little more bitchy than I like, but if I don't it's chaos. And some of the kids I had this week were real doozies...kids that were tearing up classrooms with their behavior and kids who think, for some reason, that they can argue with adults.
I don't argue with children. Period.
I have written a dozen write ups this year. Five were this week.
And the admins have always been good about backing me up when I have a kid removed. But this week they decided that they weren't going to waste any time and were going to suspend them immediately. As Coach Cool said, "You're more than patient with them, if they screw up for you, they deserve to be suspended."
I always warn kids about this every morning when I go through our orientation. I like to remind them that this is the last stop on the discipline train and that They Do Not Want To Aggravate Mrs. Bluebird.
But two knucklehead apparently didn't get that memo. Or chose to ignore it.
The worst part of the day is when we move, en masse, from our Happy Little Portable to the building to use the restrooms. They're pretty good when they're in their seats working, but get them up and moving, and all hell breaks loose (even though they're supposed to be single file and silent, they're still moving.)
So one kid decides to slap another kid in the face after we come back from the bathroom break. The kid that got slapped, surprisingly, didn't retaliate. He was just so stunned he sat down and blinked a bit. I simply told Slap Boy that he needed to get his things together because he was leaving.
I picked up the phone and dialed the office. "I need an administrator to remove a kid, please," I said.
"No problem," said our ever efficient secretary.
"Thanks," I say, and as I say this, I see another kid stand up, twirl around and throw a wad of paper at another student.
Really? I'm on the phone asking to have a kid removed, and you stand up, get out of your seat, and throw something at another kid?
"Make that two kids removed," I added. "Hold on, let me see if there are anymore."
"Hey, while I have the office on the phone," I announced, "Is there anyone else who wants to do anything stupid and get suspended?"
Silence. They all turned around in their seats and started working (or pretending to work).
The two kids who were removed were stunned. It's like they don't believe me.
However, the kids that remained? They got the message. They were good as gold the rest of the day.