Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In Trouble

The lesson plan said: You can read the packet as a class or have them read it on their own. "On their own" was the correct answer. 

7th grade English. After taking a quiz which took place after they finished their warm-up (lots of short tasks keep 7th graders focused), they had a story to read and questions to answer. I decided that they should "popcorn read". 

Things were going okay until John read. Then he called on Octavio. But he didn't call Octavio. No, he called Octavia. 

Octavio was seated in an isolation chair. Every middle school classroom seems to have one (or two) of these. These are normal desks, but they're pulled away from the main body of student seats. Sometimes these are up front next to the teacher's desk. This one was in the back far corner. 

I didn't hear Octavio's reaction. Teddy reported that it wasn't appropriate for a classroom. 

Then the pile-on began. John and Teddy insisted that Octavio had to read, was misbehaving, was being rude, and was chewing gum. Octavio needed to be in trouble. Funny, the only two I heard were John and Teddy. 

Teddy was incensed. Octavio was pestering him. Teddy decided that he had to move. 

Eventually, we found another reader, but Teddy and John kept calling attention to Octavio. Teddy asked to move again. I don't know why he thought the fifth time he asked would be different than the fourth or third. 

Somehow we managed to get through the (fairly short) story. The class didn't have enough time to answer the questions that came after. 

It was my fault. I should have known better. But then again, I can see what that group might have done if left to read the story on their own. In the end the idea that they'd spend that time playing rather than working led me to make the same decision with the rest of the classes--we'd read together. 

I don't know if Octavio was doing things he shouldn't have or if he was just a convenient excuse for Teddy and John to play around. Doesn't matter. Teddy and John were the ones to get "special consideration" in my note to their teacher. 


  1. Ugh, 7th-graders.

    I had 6th and 7th-grade today. I am not finding this transition back to subbing easy.

  2. Subbing is very hard. The first thing I learned was to go in and say, "I bring my own rules with me. WE will be doing things different today so don't worry if I am not doing things like your teacher. When she gets back it will be her turn again. It really helps.

  3. How ever you find the strength to do that job is beyond me. Ugh.


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