Friday, June 3, 2016
Their Own Way
8th grade English. (It was a middle school week. I had one class of 12th graders on Tuesday, but the rest of the week was all 7th and 8th grade.) All the classes are in the middle of their The Diary of Anne Frank unit.
They read the play version, which is in their literature textbooks. A nice thing about their textbooks is that there are audio versions of everything in there, so if the teacher leaves me the CDs, I can play those while the students follow along.
Alas, on this day, the teacher left neither CDs nor a device to play the CDs on. (We no longer use boomboxes for this. We put the CD in a computer that hooks up to the classroom speakers. It's all very high tech, when things are working.)
Their teacher instructed them to read the last two scenes of Act 2 silently to themselves. And then they were to finish up the questions for the play that they had received at the start of the unit. (All the classes had the same question packet.) Their test was the next day.
Oh, they howled. Why couldn't I play the CD for them?
Um, well, first, I didn't have the CD. Second, I didn't have the teacher's laptop to play it on...
"But there's a computer right over there..."
A computer I hadn't booted up. And that wasn't connected to the in-class speaker system.
"And there's a computer over there..."
That was even farther away from the plugs. And again, not connected to the speakers.
And besides the fact that I didn't have the CDs for the play.
Still, they argued. Then they decided that they'd rather just read it out loud as a class. Which wasn't going to happen considering how uncooperative they were being in arguing for the audio. That would have been a train wreck. I insisted they do as their teacher instructed--read it on their own.
I explained, they needed to read silently. As in, no talking. Because, you can't read and talk at the same time. (I've never managed to do it...)
And they ignored that, too.
Ah, 8th graders in the spring...
This is where I gave up. I fought the good fight. I lost. Time to write it all down.
The next day I was covering another English class nearby. At some point Ms. A. came by. And told me how angry she was with this group.
They were in trou...ble...