Friday, February 26, 2016

Not Going to React


Graphic arts class at the continuation high school. It was the last day to finish their current project. I had taken roll and was strolling around, doing my usual checking in on the students.

I stood over one boy. He had a box cutter in his hand. He was playing with the thing that pushed the blade out and pulled it back in.

I asked him what he was doing. He claimed that it was his box cutter and that he had brought it from home.

But he hadn't. Earlier in the day, I had noticed the box cutter sitting on a table in the middle of the room. I figured it was needed for various projects, so I had let it be. I didn't think I needed to hide the thing.

I think the boy was looking for some sort of reaction. A box cutter could be considered a weapon, and I could have gotten the administration of the school involved. It could have gotten ugly.

But I knew the box cutter wasn't his. So instead, I told him I knew where he had gotten it, and he needed to put it back.

He did. And that was that.

I don't think they think sometimes. Or perhaps they want to scare the sub. I've learned to underreact to things. It diffuses many a situation.

Some weeks I have so many good subbing stories, there is no way to get them all down. And then there are weeks like this one. A week where I have three days of 8th graders...who behaved. I mean, seriously? I ask a class of 8th graders to work silently, and they do? It made for a good week for me personally, but the blog... Ah well.

20 comments:

  1. May your luck continue!
    He was probably just looking for a reaction. You're right, best not to give it to him.

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  2. Did you include it in your note to the teacher for the day? I agree, not reacting and handling it like you did was a good thing to do.

    betty

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    1. I didn't. If he hadn't easily given it up, then I would have. As it was, it was only a minor incident.

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  3. Hey, let's celebrate your week of no drama, I think that's awesome!

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  4. Here, he would have been wrestled to the ground, handcuffed, and expelled. Not too long ago, a 6 year old nibbled his pop tart into the shape of a gun. Expelled.

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    1. Oh, if I had gone reported it, I'm sure it would have gone just like that.

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  5. Kids that age aren't exactly known for their skills at reason and thinking things through. It's lucky for him that you didn't react because the school definitely would overreact.

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  6. I think sometimes it is good not to react! But, I'm not sure when it comes to weapons we should keep quiet. A box cutter is a weapon. I am glad he put it back and life went on though!

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    1. If I hadn't seen the box cutter on the table previously, if I hadn't known that he was going for a reaction, I would have called the office. I don't put up with them mock hitting each other, so I wouldn't have put up with a "weapon". No way. But I don't think he realized how big of a deal that would have become.

      A while ago, I had a student joking around talking about how another student's brother beat her. I explained that I am a mandated reporter for child abuse. She retracted that statement so fast. (If I thought for a second she hadn't been kidding in the first place, I would have reported it.)

      I don't think they think things through sometimes. In this situation, the consequences far outweighed the offense.

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  7. I'm glad they mostly behaved, even if that doesn't provide much blog material.

    Good for you for being able to "under" react. I think it does help in some situations.

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  8. You did the right thing for sure. It's always best to never react..glad you trusted your instincts.

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  9. It's obvious that you are experienced and have to confidence to trust your judgment. As a sub I'm sure you are exposed to perhaps a much wider variety of behaviors than the student's regular teachers do.

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  10. PS. Love, love, love the new background!

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  11. Absolutely correct. Half the time they're just looking for a reaction. No need to escalate something that can be downplayed. P.S. I've shut down by blog if you've been looking for it, Liz, but I shall start a new one soon :)

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    1. I learned this the hard way. It involved a fire extinguisher and billowing smoke (which, it turned out, came from the fire extinguisher).

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  12. Yours is the voice of experience!

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  13. Liz, it amazes me to think that this kid would purposely say the box cutter was his. Like you pointed out, today if a kid brought said box cutter to school they'd see it as a weapon. You defused the problem and handled the situation without incident. I applaud you! :)

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