Thursday, November 3, 2016
Survey of biology. 4th period. I had covered the class the prior week, and things had not gone so well.
I insisted on silent attention while I was going over instructions. They would not stop talking. In these circumstances I can be a bit stubborn. What should have taken me two minutes took me fifteen. And that made me the enemy.
This day I still didn't have their attention, but I had less to say. I passed out their papers and left them to it.
Later, I did my circuit of the class, checking on the various students. Kareem wasn't doing anything. I reminded him that his work was due at the end of the period. He complained that he had no idea what to do. He said I had not "taught" them. (I'm not sure what he wanted taught. It was a worksheet to complete.)
They left. Then 5th period came in. Same assignment. Much more well-behaved group.
One student went to staple something, and he found the stapler empty. I found staples, and I went to put the staples in the stapler. Only, the stapler was broken. The spring thingy was missing.
Oh! That's what that long, tightly coiled spring was! I knew where I'd seen it.
While Kareem was telling me I was a failure as a teacher, he wound a long spring through his hair, around his head, and just generally pulled it apart. At the time I didn't know what it was.
Kareem was long gone, but I at least had the name of the one who broke the teacher's stapler. Too bad he made himself memorable. If he hadn't spent so much time doing nothing, I might never have noticed.