Monday, June 11, 2012

The Fight

I have had four in-classroom fights in my career as a sub. The fourth happened on Friday.

It was the same opportunity class that I've talked about so many times before. I thought they were difficult when I had five students. Currently, the class contains 18 (although 6 of them were absent). And a couple of them were just itching to get into it, anything, with someone.

Jonah's thing was making wadded up paper balls. Big ones. He'd take a sheet of paper, wad it up, then add a second, then a third, until the thing was softball sized. This didn't bother me. At least he was doing something that wasn't antagonizing someone else. I warned him, though. As soon as he threw it, I was going to kick him out of class.

Jose had to argue with everything I asked him to do...

(Okay, I know that it's not a good idea to have two characters with names that start with the same letter. And yes, these names are not the students' actual names. But both boys' names did start with the same letter, did sound similar, and were hard for me to keep track of.)

Jose was the tough guy. Later I learned that the rest of the students were a bit afraid of him. They would do what Jose asked of them. Too bad he didn't use his powers for good.

It was passing period for the rest of the school. Three boys decided that they wanted to leave the class, so I got them back in the room. I shut the door, and the class exploded (figuratively).

The next happened so fast that I have a hard time keeping the timeline straight. But first, I got hit in the back of the neck by one of those flying paper balls. I went to call the office for backup as someone was going to leave, I just wasn't sure who yet. And that's when Jonah threw his softball-sized paper ball, hitting Jose.

In the midst of this, I talked to the office and told them that I needed assistance.

Jose wasn't about to take this insult, so he jumped over a table and flew at Jonah, swinging his fists. Jonah defended himself. I yelled, but I wasn't stupid enough to jump between the two of them.

Then it was over. I'm not sure if the door opened before or after the two boys separated. Behind the door stood five adults including a counselor, the principal, and security. Jonah and Jose left, and then it was a matter of settling the rest of the group.

The class was not pleased with me. They argued that Jose was just responding to Jonah's thrown paper ball. I disagreed. Jonah was gone the moment he threw his ball. Jose only made the situation worse.

But in the end, two of the worst offenders were gone for the rest of the day. This helped me, if only a little.

I understand why the teacher needed a break from this group. I don't know how she does her job every day.


  1. Wow. That was quite a day. Good of you to call for backup.

  2. That sounds like an ordeal. Way to stay cool in the midst of trouble.


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