They started off describing the time they got arrested in Redondo Beach. Then the conversation veered into fighting--who they beat up, when, and whether they "won".
I know this because I heard every word. So did most of the school, I'd imagine. Probably the elementary school across the street heard it as well.
I knew I wasn't going to get any work out of them. (I suppose I could have tried harder...) I asked the boys to take their volume down. They didn't have to project their voices quite so much. The room wasn't that large, and they were sitting next to each other.
This, of course, they did not do.
But the rest of the class was on task. Certain questions about the assignment repeated all day. I turned to help a student with one of these.
One of the boys suddenly turned in his seat to the boy behind him, asking about question number 2. (This was more than 45 minutes into the period.)
I wasn't surprised to find the principal and a district official had dropped in. (I heard they were coming before class.) I was surprised how quickly the boys went from fight talk to a pretense of doing the assignment.
As soon as the visitors left, the boys went back to their previous conversation. Naturally.
But before the end of the period, they suddenly got busy. Curious, I checked their desks to find them busily copying the finished work from one of the girls in the class.
I took the paper from them. They did not protest.
Why, oh why, do students do this? They let the boys goof off for the entire period, and then give them their hard work to copy. I don't get it.