It was one of those science classes--the classes where they put the kids who failed the previous year. Most of the names on the roll sheet were familiar to me and not in a good way. So, my job was to keep them contained, and I was resigned to that.
Third period we got a new student. She wasn't just new to the class; she was new to the school. And all I could think was, poor girl. What a way to be introduced to your new school!
One of the troublemakers noticed her and asked her if she was new. I watched nervously. She replied that she was, and the next question was could troublemaker see her schedule. I breathed easier. Several students then chimed in with similar requests (they wanted to see if she was in any of their classes and/or if they could tell her something about the rest of her day). They were being nice to her! Whew.
But for the rest of the period one channel of my mind was watching the class through a stranger's eyes. What must she have thought of this group? The boy who accused another boy across the room of stealing his pencil (it was found on the floor near the first boy's desk). The two who tried to start a mock fight. The boy whose backpack constantly went missing (several others kept "borrowing" it). The boy and girl who were battling over the girl's umbrella.
The new girl's fourth period class was in one of the odd locations on campus (in one of the extra rooms set up on what used to be the parking lot). I was trying to explain where it was (as it wasn't close and there were several turns involved) when another student volunteered to show her where it was. He said his next class was close by.
I guess it's just me they antagonize. A new student? She's one of them.