Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Not Deshawn

Today I had 8th grade science. The teacher had forgotten to leave the seating charts, so I had to call out the roll. (I assume he forgot the seating charts, as the lesson plan made mention of them, but I couldn't find them anywhere.) This went fairly smoothly until 6th period.

There are some names that are unique to various races. For example, a Jose is always a Latino. So, when I called out Deshawn, I knew something was up when one boy indicated that this boy was present, but he was over there (indicating a white boy). Especially when "Deshawn" looked a bit bewildered about this. He refused to say that he was "here", so I marked Deshawn absent.

The boy who pointed out "Deshawn" responded to the name Chris. I heard a few snickers from the crowd. I knew what game "Chris" was playing now. (Yeah, this game has come up a couple times.)

I don't know why Deshawn wanted to pretend to be someone else. It's not like he did anything out of the ordinary. In fact, had it not been for the name swap, he wouldn't have made my note at all. As it was, the swap was pretty obvious.

At the beginning of the period, several students tried to remember to call Deshawn "Chris", but most slipped up within moments. (They were working on group projects, so there was continuous noise. Since most of them were doing what they were supposed to be doing, I wasn't concerned.) If I had had any doubts about Deshawn's true name, those would have been erased before the class was halfway over. By then, the charade was up, and most of the others had forgotten to call Deshawn anything else.

I left Deshawn marked absent, though. I thought it served him right.


  1. Haha, kids think they're so clever ;)

  2. I used to teach at a school for at risk adolescents. Eventually I left so I could focus more on writing but I would go back once and a while to sub. Every time I did, there would be one group of students who would try the name game. Little did they know, I'd already gotten a description of each and every one of them before I'd even gone into the classroom. It was easy to do since the class numbers were so small.

    Good for you for leaving Deshawn marked absent. I would've done that too.

  3. They just never get tired of this one, do they? :)

  4. I hate when students switch names. My strategy was to listen in the halls before they came in. The loudest ones were often the people who tried to change names later. And they weren't shy about shouting names in the hallway.

  5. I remember, back in school, we always thought we were so original when we pulled stuff like that on the sub. I suppose subs must have a lot of patience in order to get anything done.


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