So, most of you know I work in a high school. I teach English in a large urban school to poor, inner-city kids of color who are -- hmmm, how to phrase this -- largely disenfranchised with the educational system. And this year I agreed to give up my juniors and seniors to take on the sophomores and prepare them for MCAS. Before you ask, yes I am that crazy. Honestly, I really enjoy teenagers, especially sophomores. Everything is so dramatic and all of the imagined insults and minor tragedies are wonderfully overblown. Sure tears are plentiful, but so are laughs, and my days are never boring. I love my job. Next to my family, it is the only other thing in my life that makes me feel whole and fulfilled. But sometimes...
Sometimes. I have this class of complete maladjusts. Seriously, they have no idea what a real student looks like. Daily, I have to ask them not to get up and wander aimlessly around the room just because the story we are reading "is boring," or drift out of the room "to get something" from some vague presence in the halls. They repeatedly have to be reminded not to drum on the tables, slap each other in the head, throw wadded up paper across the room, and/or fart on each other. Oh, and the swearing. They curse like profanity was the "Blue Light Special" at KMART and they're all stocked up for the season.
Anyway, I have one student, let's call her Angie, who has serious issues. She is a sophomore for the third time this year, but this is her first time with me. When we tested all the kids at the beginning of the year, she scored at a 2nd grade reading level, so I knew my regular Ed college prep class was going to be tough for her. I was warned by several of my colleagues that this kid is a monster. Still, up until today she had never been a problem. It had gotten to the point where Angie was often the best behaved kid in the class. My friends would shake their heads and say, "Damn, you know it's a bad class when Angie is a star." Still, I couldn't fathom who they were talking about; my Angie was a darling.
Then it happened -- Angie lost her shit. It began when she walked in and before she even sat down, loudly announced the she hated my "fucking class." I walked over and quietly reminded her that she may hate class because she'd been absent and was feeling frustrated, but that she did not hate me and she owed me the respect of not speaking that way in my room or my presence. She agreed, smiled and earnestly apologized. Everything was fine.
As class went on, she took out her cell phone and started texting. My student teacher asked her (very nicely) to put her phone away and join the class. She ignored him. He repeated himself, and she told him that she didn't understand the lesson and his questions were "fucking stupid" anyway. At this point, they were in a pissing contest and I had to step in. I told her to give me her phone. She refused. I told her she had to give me the phone or leave the room. She said she'd leave. I told her that if she chose to leave, she'd better go directly to the principal. And then she completely blew: "No! No! I'm not giving you my Fucking phone, and I'm not going to Mrs. Fucking _____. I'M FUCKING OUT. FUCK THIS." Then she proceeded to slam open the door and storm out of the room with all the grace and class of an elephant stampede. Nice.
Just to be a bitch, I snidely called out behind her -- "Okay Angie, you have a nice day" and shut the door on her shrill, indignant whine that I would dare to mock her. I know, I know. I'm the adult. Whatever. If you say you wouldn't have taken a shot at her, you're a liar. And really, compared to what I'd like to have done, a little sarcasm was kind.