Friday, June 3, 2016

Their Own Way


8th grade English. (It was a middle school week. I had one class of 12th graders on Tuesday, but the rest of the week was all 7th and 8th grade.) All the classes are in the middle of their The Diary of Anne Frank unit.

They read the play version, which is in their literature textbooks. A nice thing about their textbooks is that there are audio versions of everything in there, so if the teacher leaves me the CDs, I can play those while the students follow along.

Alas, on this day, the teacher left neither CDs nor a device to play the CDs on. (We no longer use boomboxes for this. We put the CD in a computer that hooks up to the classroom speakers. It's all very high tech, when things are working.)

Their teacher instructed them to read the last two scenes of Act 2 silently to themselves. And then they were to finish up the questions for the play that they had received at the start of the unit. (All the classes had the same question packet.) Their test was the next day.

Oh, they howled. Why couldn't I play the CD for them?

Um, well, first, I didn't have the CD. Second, I didn't have the teacher's laptop to play it on...

"But there's a computer right over there..."

A computer I hadn't booted up. And that wasn't connected to the in-class speaker system.

"And there's a computer over there..."

That was even farther away from the plugs. And again, not connected to the speakers.

And besides the fact that I didn't have the CDs for the play.

Still, they argued. Then they decided that they'd rather just read it out loud as a class. Which wasn't going to happen considering how uncooperative they were being in arguing for the audio. That would have been a train wreck. I insisted they do as their teacher instructed--read it on their own.

I explained, they needed to read silently. As in, no talking. Because, you can't read and talk at the same time. (I've never managed to do it...)

And they ignored that, too.

Ah, 8th graders in the spring...

This is where I gave up. I fought the good fight. I lost. Time to write it all down.

The next day I was covering another English class nearby. At some point Ms. A. came by. And told me how angry she was with this group.

They were in trou...ble...

23 comments:

  1. Bet they got it big time.
    What part of you didn't have the CD did they not understand?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like that, they were in trou...ble....

    They won't pull this on any more subs the rest of the year I bet. And you are wise to document, document, document and then more documentation.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They had a sub Wednesday. She (the other sub) and I talked before school, and I told her of the trouble I had with them. Thursday she told me they were fairly well-behaved. So, something went right.

      Delete
  3. Liz, It's funny how some kids are more cooperative than others. This group just wanted to whine. I remember when I was school there was usually one kid in the class that stirred trouble, but generally everyone else was pretty well behaved. If the Troublemaker didn't pipe down he/she made a trip to the Principle's office for a little talking to. lol It's great fun to read your daily journal of how you spent your day in the classroom, though. Honestly, I don't know how you do it. You must be Superwoman or something. :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. Why do they have to make the tech stuff so complicated? When I was in school, the computers were there. Always. No taking them home. The subs used the same ones as the teachers. And yes, while there were problems, it was never a problem that couldn't be solved by the tech people.

    I don't know how you stayed strong with the kids begging you. I guess I'm a pushover. I'd desperately want to give the kids a shot at reading out loud. I think that's why I'm not a sub. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've never tried to read a play with a group of rambunctious 8th graders, have you? That's how I stayed strong. I knew the horrors that would have occurred had I acquiesced to their request.

      Delete
  5. I don't know any middle school every like required reading. But later as an adult I check this book out.
    Coffee is on

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, required reading is generally reviled. But that doesn't mean they get to play instead.

      Delete
  6. Sometimes you just gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run. Bloody hell supply teaching is hard... as I'm discovering, Liz!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When next you have your own classroom, you'll be that much nicer to the subs, won't you?

      Delete
  7. I guess this time of year is the worst, huh?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Replies
    1. Good thing you don't have to. You can just read about all my misadventures.

      Delete
  9. I have been telling the kids that complaining without a suggested solution is just whinging :D Mine would do the same as this class, find a solution to Part B of the problem, missing the blindingly obvious Part A

    ReplyDelete
  10. Read silently. When a substitute is in class. In June. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
    Teachers are so cute.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That's crazy, we always had to read it ourselves in class, mind you that was 10+ years ago now. Hope they don't give you such a hard time next time :) (or the teacher leaves the CDs behind lol)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reading it as a class is fine. If that's what was in the lesson plan. And the class hadn't been crazy. (Several teachers still have them read it.)

      Delete
  12. I teach a couple of adolescents here in Germany...they can be challenging, to say the least :)

    ReplyDelete

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.