Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fight Club

A couple of weeks ago, I got a new student in my 4th period class. This, in and of itself, is not an unusual occurrence. With a 48% mobility rate, it is a rare couple of weeks when I don't have students either withdrawing or enrolling. But my 4th period is a very high maintenance class. Not in the same way as my 3rd period, but in a highly dysfunctional and moody kind of way. If 3rd period is a diva, 4th period is goth and emo. It is my second smallest class (20 kids) but one of the hardest to manage.

This new student immediately - as in, within one day - clashed with my most annoying kid. This kid, I'll call him Aaron, is immature, loud-mouthed and generally obnoxious, although deep down I kind of like him. I will freely admit that he is seriously annoying, though. His biggest issue is that he was born in Somalia, but tries to act like he grew up in E. Compton. His personality is actually like a big, slobbery puppy, but he thinks he is Wesley Snipes and Usher all rolled up into one. He is so annoying that he has to sit completely separated from every other person in class.

The new kid - I'll call him Tamomo (Momo for short) - is a large Samoan who has had attendance issues and just moved in with his aunt in an attempt to make a fresh start.

The second day that Momo was in class, Aaron and he got into a verbal sparring match over something that I can't even remember and I had to move Momo when I noticed that his fists were balled up tight and he was about to lose it. I moved him to another part of the classroom, and left Aaron where he was. Last week I had a sub, who called me after school (NEVER a good sign...) to tell me that Aaron and Momo were arguing over a DOLLAR bet that one had apparently made with the other. They wouldn't shut up, so he moved Momo even farther away. The two of them then glared at each other from across the room and refused to work until the sub actually stood between them to disrupt their vision.

At this point, I emailed both guardians, then forwarded the emails to my vice-principal with a note that said basically 'look, something is going to go down between these two kids, please be aware of it...' I also pulled both Aaron and Momo out of class on the following day (separately) and told them in no uncertain terms that whatever was going on was going to stop Right Now and they were to ignore each other in my class from this point forward.

Today, the kids were working on kind of a cool project in random groups when tension started escalating on the far side of the room where Momo and Aaron were working in separate but relatively close groups. Momo is still getting used to the rules in my classroom - including no cursing in class - and had already been talked to about that once today. A girl in Momo's group was asking him about his name, and from what I could gather in the approximately 17 nanoseconds it took this to escalate, Aaron told the girl Momo's name was actually Hoho, and then laughed about it.

Momo, who had brought a ukelele to class, picked it up by the neck and got up, cursing at Aaron. By this point I was already on my way over, telling Momo to get out in the hallway and telling Aaron, who of course was still running his mouth, to sit down and shut up. Momo continued to advance on Aaron, who got up and retreated around to the other side of the group of kids working. I ended up having to push my hands against Momo's arms to get him to stop advancing on Aaron. I sent Momo to the hallway and pinned Aaron to his chair with my death glare, then called security and went outside to get Momo's side of the story. By this point he was actually crying, which shocked me, although I think he was doing it because he was so pissed off.

Security pulled him, Aaron, and the girl down to the office, and I RE-sent the original email I had sent to the VP last week, along with a short description of what I had seen in class today. She emailed me back after school to say that Momo was assigned to In School Suspension for Friday, but that Aaron told her that he didn't do anything, and DID do exactly what I told him to do, so she just gave him a detention. She also said that Aaron was coming by to talk to me after school, which mysteriously, didn't happen (Shocking, I know).

A pretty large chunk of me is annoyed by this, while the other part is a little befuddled. I warned the kids, the parents, AND the principal last week that this was escalating into a problem. It blew up into a problem, as I had predicted (almost like I am good at my job or something!) so I removed the participants and sent them to administration, as I was supposed to do. One of those participants were able to convince my principal that I was wrong and he was right, and on Monday I will again have to be on high alert because this WILL blow up again.

Fan - freakin' - tastic.

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