Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Racist


7th grade English. They're doing a unit on bottled water versus tap water. Reading and analyzing articles on the subject. 

Each group had been given a sentence to analyze. UnPAC: paraphrase, annotate, and I can't remember what C stood for. Then they had questions to answer.

A group called me over. One of their members was distracting them.  

I already had my eye on the boy. While I was explaining the assignment, he flipped his eyelids--something my optometrist does to look at the insides, but not something that's classroom appropriate. 

He didn't even have the assignment out of his backpack. So, clearly not contributing to the group. 

As I had classrooms to send him out to, I asked the group if I should send him out of class. They did not say yes (they didn't say anything), but they nodded and/or by their body language indicated he was only hindering their progress. So, I told the boy he had to go. 

He promised he'd work if he got one more chance...

(The "one more chance" thing... It's good when I'm giving a warning. But when I've gotten to the consequence portion of the conversation, "one more chance" means the student was able to talk me out of the consequence. And chaos ensues. I've learned this one the hard way, so now when I've gotten to the point when I've enacted the consequence, I know I have to follow through.) 

When he didn't immediately leave (I walked away to take care of something else and then returned to find him still sitting with no movement towards getting ready to go), I went back and stood over him. "But my group said I could stay." 

I don't know where he got that impression. They looked to me like he couldn't exit the classroom soon enough. Was he oblivious? Didn't matter anyway. I had made the decision and I'd own it. He had to go.

Then he claimed that I'd said he could stay. (What? Because I'd walked away to deal with another issue?) So, rather than argue, I told him I'd changed my mind. 

Still, he wouldn't budge. It wasn't until I explained his choices now were the other classroom or the office with a referral that he started packing up. 

On his way out he threw his last bomb. Said I was racist. Because my kicking him out for non-work and then refusing to let him stay was racially motivated. (At moments like this I am so tempted to agree. Sarcastically. But, unfortunately, the sarcasm will be missed by the student in question.) 

(And he still managed to come back twice more. The first time was because classroom number one was locked. Classroom number two was watching a movie. Excuses, excuses.) 

For the record, this is not the first time a student has accused me of racism. It's interesting to note, however, that I only get accused of racism by students who are getting a consequence for some infraction. In classes that do their work and behave wonderfully, I never get accused of such things. 

21 comments:

  1. Funny how they would "throw" around that word only when they were in trouble, like it is going to make you change your mind about enforcing a consequence for their poor actions.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen teachers break down in tears over the accusation. Apparently it works sometimes.

      Delete
  2. It's a dirty word that rattles cages - and he knows it. Glad you stood your ground.
    It's sad to see a powerful word like that be thrown around, because it takes away from the very serious problem of racism that does exist. But we're not going to get anywhere by just throwing it out as a general insult. Ugh.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Unfortunately it is what is being taught to the world now by the media! And I am afraid it might be being reinforced in their homes. I am proud that you stood your ground.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are times when the word is warranted. This was not one of those times.

      Delete
  4. Some people will use anything to try to get out of trouble. Obviously this kid is one of those.

    ReplyDelete
  5. :( That must be so disheartening. I think you did the right thing by not being baited and responding sarcastically. It would only give them something to use against you (corral others to empathize with them). There are always going to be people who will use whatever arsenal they can to attack someone. It's such a shame. Sorry you had to experience that.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You did the right thing. We all know racism has nothing to do with willful misbehavior. I hope that young man will have a rude awakening one day but the world will have to change before then. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He has a bit of an attitude problem. I had him in class again today. He started a fight with another boy.

      Delete
  7. I too have been accused of being a racist by a child I was correcting. It made me so angry I emailed his mother and told her what he'd said. Grrrrr.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's your advantage. You can take that conversation to the parents.

      Delete
  8. How sad that this kid used the racism card for all the wrong reasons. It diminishes when racism actually happens. If I was told I was racist it would bother me even when I know it not to be true.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Replies
    1. Not even close. But thanks for saying it all the same.

      Delete
  10. Well, he certainly was pulling everything he had out of his desperation bag of tricks. He saved the "best" for last. Sadly, it sounds like he is in emotional trouble.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I wonder what goes on in kids' brains sometimes. Seems like it would be a lot less work to just focus on the assignment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'd think, right? I've even tried telling them that sometimes. But they don't listen.

      Delete
  12. I wonder if that's what his parents do. Sorry you had to deal with that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think so. I heard there have been parent conferences, so they're addressing the issue.

      Delete

I appreciate your comments.

I respond to comments via email, unless your profile email is not enabled. Then, I'll reply in the comment thread. Eventually. Probably.