My after-lunch students have been, shall we say, “problematic.” Middle-school students are legendary for their capacity to do anything but what is required of them. They are the best at simply stonewalling and doing dozens of menial tasks like continously sharpening their pencils until the hour is over. Generally they’re very good at waging a war of attrition. Friday the war went to a whole new level.
Just when I mistakenly thought things were leveling out a bit and I was actually able to teach a little bit, the clean-up bell six-minutes before the end of class continued to mark a point when they just couldn’t stay in their seats. This is especially true on Fridays. Well this Friday wasn’t any worse (or better) as far as their inability to stay seated. What got my goat was something I didn’t discover until the end of the day. Some damn kid stole my 40-GB iPod.
Of course I felt stupid for even leaving the damn thing out. Then I felt mad and stupid because I let them anywhere near my desk. Then I was pissed because they took something that was mine. Anyone would feel stupid and be pissed, but teaching is such an emotional investment that it is so hard to not just shut done and not give a shit because one of my students betrayed my trust. In the end I know that it’s not so much about the stupid iPod (they just gave me a reason to buy a new 60-GB video iPod). It’s about the broken trust and the realization that one of the kids is probably going to be okay with the fact that they’ve stolen a $300+ device from their teacher. I don’t want to be a hard-ass, but someone has given me no reason to treat them otherwise. I guess the good thing is I now have a bitchen new black iPod. The bad part is that someone has begun their amoral life of crime. JBB