Today after our usual morning Tai Chi (which I really like, by the way, at least when the kids are quiet enough that I don’t have to worry about shushing them), the vice principal sat them down and told them he’s already gotten calls from a few parents concerned about the behavior of some students at the school. “By being loud and causing a commotion when you walk from class to class, and by disrespecting your teachers by continually disrupting lessons, I hope you don’t think you'll make us all quit,” he said. “We love each and every one of you too much to allow that to happen. We want you to succeed.” Then when I was in the hall this afternoon, I saw him with one of the seventh grade classes lined up against the wall, scolding them, “Some of your parents have already called me with concerns about this behavior. It’s not acceptable.” And I thought, geez -- why on earth would anyone want to be a vice principal!? I don’t know how he has the energy or the stamina. Whatever they’re paying him, it’s not enough.
One of the few teachers who was at the school last year told me, “I’m surprised parents are complaining -- so far things are SO much better than last year. It’s like night and day.” Which makes me glad I missed last year. ;O The one seventh grade class I was in today actually went pretty well -- all but a couple of the students were on task and engaged. This one kid, Quigley, would not shut up, though. I have him for advisory last period of the day, and he was the same way there. I made him stay after school for a few minutes and write about why he kept getting into trouble and how his teachers could help him. He wrote, "By stop getting me in trouble for no reason. I got in trouble because of nothing." So I re-phrased the question as, why do you keep talking when your teachers are talking? How can they help you stop? He wrote, "Because teachers ignore me when I raise my hand. By not ignoring me and making my arm hurt." We talked about how his teachers appreciate it when he raises his hand, but we can't always call on him all the time -- other kids need a chance to speak. Who knows if that helped or not. We'll see how he is tomorrow.
The sixth grade already went on a field trip yesterday – some sort of Outward Bound type of thing with rope-climbing, trust falls, etc. Sounds like exactly the kind of trip I would’ve hated in sixth grade! But it went extremely well. One of the teachers who has been teaching for 37 years said it was the best field trip he had ever been on. “You talk too much, we know that,” he told the kids. “But the way most of you treated each other and helped each other out, it really inspired me and warmed my heart.”
Today when the sixth grade science teacher was explaining scientific laws and scientific theories, one of the kids raised his hand and asked out of nowhere, “What’s Einstein’s theory of relativity?”
I’m trying to get a read on that sixth grader Tre (the one who, when asked to write about who he really is, wrote, “I am an alien in a human body"). Half the time he’s just sitting around, unprepared, not writing anything down, and chatting with the kids around him. But today, when he was doing that and the teacher called on him, he knew exactly what was going on in the lesson and could explain it. The other day when I saw him in the hall, he asked, “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?”
“Invisibility,” I said immediately. (I’ve probably thought about that question too much.) “Because then you could go anywhere and do anything, and no one would be able to tell. What about you?”
“The ability to have ALL the superpowers,” he said. Tricky!