Thursday, September 23, 2010

Second Guessing

It's been a slow week.  I'm going a little stir crazy.  (But then again, it's only September.  Things are sure to pick up in a couple weeks.)

This incident happened last Thursday.  It took me a couple days to process and decide that I was satisfied with how I handled the situation.  I feel comfortable talking about it now.  Also, I have no new stories, but I'm sure that's just temporary.

It was 4th period (of course).  Kayla and Evan (the student I'd been warned about) asked me if they could listen to their mp3 players.  The answer was a firm no.  But that wasn't good enough for them.  They explained that they did their work better if they were listening to music.

It is true--many times students listening to their music players tend to focus on their work and block out the rest of the class.  It mellows them out.  But the rules are clear, and the teacher left specific instructions that mp3 players were not to be used.

Evan wanted to know why.  He wanted to know what the argument against was so he could find a way around.  Because his teacher said no?  I didn't have to tell the teacher that I had allowed it.

It was later in the period.  I was back in front of Kayla and Evan, trying to get them to work.  Kayla told me that she heard music.  What?  I couldn't hear it?  It was coming from that direction.

It took me a little while to catch on.  Someone was listening to an mp3 player, and since I had been so adamant about not allowing them, I had to do something about it.  I knew that if I didn't, Kayla and Evan would have been all over it.

James was seated at his computer, doing his work.  Quietly.  He had been a good student all week.  I whispered in his ear that he needed to put away the mp3 player.  Next thing I knew, James was logging off the computer and packing up.  We had a good 20 minutes left of class, so I told James that he should still be working.

The room was pretty quiet.  When I told the instructional assistant about this later, she was surprised, as she hadn't noticed any of this.

James told me that he was angry, but he made it clear that he was not angry at me.  He didn't want to "go off" in class, so he was removing himself from the situation.  I walked away.

Evan's reaction belonged in a sitcom.  First, he threw his papers in the air.  Then he complained that if he had just done what James had done, he would have gotten into so much trouble.  Apparently, James had just cussed me out, spit on me, punched me in the stomach, and I wasn't even giving him a slap on the wrist as consequence.

Had I let James get away with something?  I thought James' reaction was very mature.  He could have exploded.  Instead, he went to the office to cool off.

It wasn't until Friday that I learned what had started that chain of events.  James' buyout had been denied by his 3rd period teacher.  He walked into 4th period upset already.

A buyout is permission for the students to miss Friday.  James' 3rd period teacher denied him the day off because he had been sleeping in class.  James thought that unfair.  Then he came into 4th period, and he had trouble figuring out the math.  My request to put away the mp3 player was the proverbial straw.

Because of Evan's reaction, I questioned whether or not I had done the right thing.  (I also made sure to include that whole incident in my report to the teacher.)  After mulling it over for a day, I decided that I wouldn't have done anything differently.  Evan was just being Evan.

Although, I do wonder.  Was there something I should have done differently?

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