Monday, October 13, 2014

Ebola and the Staring Contest

Sophomore English. 6th period.

The bell rang, and one student complained that another was in his seat. I told the other to move. He (the other) then roamed about, looking for a place to settle.

Bad sign. This was a boy I was going to have to watch. I didn't have a seating chart, or I would have "helped" him find his seat. Usually, the other students can clue him in, but this time, whenever he'd try to settle, the other students told him he didn't sit there.

He had to sit somewhere.

"Go away, Ebola, we don't want you here."


On the one hand, it was a very clever nickname. He was the sort of student I spend a period battling. Not doing any work. Roaming the classroom. Talking out of turn. (Luckily, this was not a silent working day, so I didn't have that battle.) This is the student that makes it into my note if I don't end up kicking him out.

On the other hand, now this student has been singled out by the rest of the class. I can't let any student be picked on. Not even him.


E found a seat at the front of the room. And while the two girls sitting nearby weren't pleased, they still managed to find topics of conversation that included him. E wasn't being picked on, so I could move on to other things. After standing over him until he got out paper and pencil.

I was elsewhere when I heard him ask the boy seated next to him for his name. Which he wouldn't give. And then they got into a staring contest.

Why? I have no idea.

The boy wouldn't give up his name. And E wanted it. He said that he needed to talk to every student in the class.

(Someone asked why E wasn't this animated in 1st period. E explained that in 1st period he was still asleep. Oh, to have had him in 1st period...)

Then they started the staring contest. And E got adamant about getting the other boy to interact with him.

Time for me to intervene...

The other boy (I checked the roll--his name was Ethan) was staring at E. And not moving. At all.

Now I was freaked out.

Was he having a seizure? Whatever was happening, it was time to distract E and the two girls. One of the girls noted that Ethan had a fly on him, and that's when Ethan swatted the fly away.


One of the girls asked around for white-out (she was actually doing the assignment). Ethan went into his stuff and got some for her. And then when he handed it to her, he froze again. Which freaked everybody out.

Ethan--freaking everybody out on purpose or dealing with some condition or other? It wasn't my place to ask.

E didn't do any work. And the others were still calling him Ebola.

Sometimes, I just have to leave it all in my note.


  1. I'm just shaking my head. There's not changing some people's behaviors.

  2. Yeah, I'm not sure I could figure out why sixth graders behave the way they do. I had no idea back when I was one, either.

  3. It's a worry. It was probably just a defense mechanism to make the other kids think he was weird or something. Seems like it's working.

    1. I prefer the idea that he's weird to he has a medical condition.

  4. He is a kid to be worried about. He likes to intimidate but he does it in a strange manner and will be one those "quiet ones" which actually one can feel creeped out by

  5. You must get writer's cramp with sme of the notes you need to leave, LOL :)



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