Thursday, August 26, 2010

Beyond My Control

This incident happened a few years ago, pre-blog.  I always meant to write a post about it, but with one thing or another, I've either forgotten about it, or I had something more interesting to say.  I'm not sure why I remembered it today, but I figured it was about time I recorded it.

I was covering a 10th grade English class.  They were supposed to be reading silently.  The silent was working, but for the most part they weren't reading.  There was too much writing going on for me to believe that they were doing their reading.  I had to keep after them to keep the silent, so that's primarily what I was doing.

Then, out of nowhere, this girl who was sitting in the back of the room yelled, "If you have something to say, say it to me!"

She was angry.  I attempted to insert myself into the conversation and calm things down, but the girl was way too angry for that.  The girl she was yelling at was now yelling back.

I knew where this was going.  I walked to the back of the room to the phone.  I dialed security.

I'm pretty sure I had to redial security before I got through.  I identified myself to the lady who answered, and then I told her that I was about to have a fight in the classroom.  She replied that she could tell (the whole class was into it by now, and it was very loud), and she would send someone right away.

I hung up, and I watched the proceedings.  I probably should have tried a little harder to restore calm.  In my defense, I had started there, but I had been ignored.

The instigator had had enough, so she stood up, and as she stood she threw her folder down on her desk.  She started towards the other girl.  The other girl was seated three seats in front of the instigator, and she started to back up.  They headed for the center of the room.

This classroom was set up so that the teacher had a lot of room to roam in the center.  The seats were kind of in corners, and the center was empty space.  So, it was a good location to begin the fight.

At that moment, the classroom door opened, and one of the security ladies stood there.  The instigator, already moving forward at this point, continued walking straight out the door.  It looked as if she had intended to go outside the entire time as she didn't even hesitate a step.  Security looked at the other girl and indicated that she should come on outside too.

That's when the second security lady showed up.  (Later, the teacher next door said that she heard the commotion and had called for backup as well.)

I attempted to restore calm.  One boy complained, "Why did you have to call security?  I wanted to see the fight."

A couple days after this, I ran into the teacher who I had been subbing for.  I had, of course, written about the whole incident in my report to her.

The teacher told me that she had been expecting a fight, but she had not expected that the instigating girl would be in it.  She was surprised because the instigating girl had been absent more than present all year.

The next time I ran into the instigating girl, she was at the continuation high school.  And the complaining boy? He also ended up there.

This happened long enough ago that those two are no longer in school.  I know the complaining boy graduated, but as for the girl, I never heard.

The fight had something to do with the second girl.  I was told that she had been spreading rumors about the instigating girl.  Her "friend" told her of this while they were supposed to be reading.

I didn't get the class back to reading.  Luckily, there was another assignment to distract them, and the class, while never getting back to calm, wasn't too bad once they were working.

1 comment:

  1. I think you handled it well. You avoided them fighting, which was the important thing. And since one potential fighter wound up at the extension school and the teacher was expecting a fight, it was just a matter of time.

    I've only had one fight break out in my class this spring. It was awful. Luckily, nobody was badly hurt. And discipline is so lax at the school that the one who pushed a kid off the desk wasn't even suspended.

    I don't think my class got much work done after that either.

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