Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Ballad of Mike and Ricky

For #ThrowbackThursday, I'm offering a post of a day I thankfully don't recall. I don't recall anything about this day or these two. I'm glad of that. This post first appeared on May 21, 2010.

(not their real names--their real names are much more distinctive)

Freshman English. 5th period. The other classes warned me about them, so I was sort of prepared.

It was near the beginning of the period when Mike first accosted me. He wanted me to sign his grade check. Never mind that it wasn't Thursday (the normal day for grade checks). He had written in a C+ as his grade. I explained that since I didn't have access to his grades I wasn't going to sign.

Mike wouldn't take no for an answer. I told him I would sign, but only if we changed his grade to N/A (not available), or he could wait until Monday. I noticed that no other teacher had signed this grade check, yet Mike insisted that he needed it for football. Finally, he relented, but I could tell that he was not pleased.

I tried to get on with the lesson plan, but period 5 was not cooperating. Ricky was "helping" by correcting the sentence of the day on the board. After he erased the corrections. Then he erased the clean board. And again.

I told Ricky to stop. It was time to sit down. Ricky informed me that Ricky wasn't his name; his name was John. This might have been plausible if (1) there had been a John on the class roll, and (2) I didn't know him from last year.

"Ricky, I mean 'John', it's time to sit down." (I managed to convey the quotes around John in my tone.) I continued to call him "Ricky, I mean 'John'" for the rest of the period.

Then Mike got into the game. He claimed his name was Pedro. He explained that while he might have looked black, he was half Mexican (and half Chinese and half white and half something else--it went on and on). I replied that he couldn't be all those halves, but that point was lost on him.

Pedro was actually the boy who sat behind him. I don't know why Pedro let Mike use his name without protest. He must have seen that I didn't believe Mike. I knew Mike from last year, so the name change wasn't flying.

It was a very long period. I won't even mention the disaster of a spelling test.

At the end of the day as I was packing up, something made me check the grades posted on the wall. (I knew they were there for Mike; I didn't feel like checking up on him for his grade check.) I found Mike's student number (on the roll sheet). Low and behold, Mike had a 67%. C+? I don't think so.

I made sure to note that in my note to the teacher even though I had written quite a lot about Mike (and Ricky) already.


  1. Replies
    1. It's a sheet of paper that a student brings to each of his/her teachers. The teacher writes down the student's current grade in the class, signs the slip, and makes any comments as to the student's progress in class.

      Students who are in extracurricular activities or who are on behavior contracts have to keep various adults updated weekly on their progress.

  2. Its good that about 4 years later you had forgotten this day; it did seem like a nightmare of a class. Wonder what happened to Mike and Ricky throughout the rest of their schooling.


  3. I am wondering what a Grade Check is, too.

    In my country,'C+' would indicate 'below average,' so a student who has a 67 % would be given a better grade, say, 'B.' Probably, our grading systems are very different.

    1. Yeah. A 67% is considered a D, maybe a D+. Anything below 60% is an F for failing. (D is "below average", C is "average", and B is "above average", with A being the top grade.)

  4. Not a great day. I wonder where these kids are now...hopefully not in Juvenile hall

  5. Smart alec boys drive me insane. They just have to test you. Girls are bad too but boys at that age have it down to a fine art. Bet you had a headache by the end of the day!

  6. And this would be why I'm not a teacher, lol.

  7. A straight-out lie, how terrible of that kid. I enjoy reading your stories, and again congrats for lasting in this job. I would've killed them all by now. :)

    1. It helps to not see the same faces every day.


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