Friday, November 9, 2018

The Shoving Match


It's been a while since I had one of these.

Eighth grade science. Friday. Third period.

About a third of the class had left for a field trip. That middle school has been doing some reward things for kiddos who maintain a certain GPA and have no discipline issues. So, basically, the "good kids" had gone.

For those who were left, I told them what their assignment was, and they got to work.

We had been in class for a bit. I had finished taking roll. They were working, albeit loudly.

Then, Jeremy got up for something. As he passed Samuel's desk, he knocked everything off of it.

Eighth graders are clumsy. They're knocking things over all the time. I highly doubt Jeremy meant any malice.

But Samuel was seeing red. He jumped out of his seat and went at Jeremy. And the two were suddenly in a tussle. Arms outstretched, it almost looked like Samuel wanted to strangle Jeremy. They shoved each other back and forth.

Of course, when something like this happens, there's stuff between me and the combatants. Not that I really wanted to get in the middle of it anyway. I made a futile attempt to get them to stop. Some other students intervened to pull them apart. And while I hoped it would end on its own, I knew what I had to do.

It was time to call security.

Since I call security so rarely, I had to look up what number to dial. I got the voicemail of the first person I tried. (Security isn't really at their extension, so I really need to call someone who has a walkie-talkie to notify them.)

And this is where the altercation ended. Both boys were back in their seats.

However, that was a fight, and I have a zero tolerance policy regarding fights in class. If I let them stay after that, I've lost the rest of the class.

I dialed the phone again.

Jeremy approached. He begged me to not call security. It was all over. And no one had thrown any punches.

This was true, but I have a zero tolerance policy because of experience. (I don't mean horseplay or mock fighting. I mean actual anger in the altercation.) If I let them stay, an already difficult class would get so much worse.

So, I dialed again, and this time I got through. Both boys sat in their seats, saying nothing.

Security came and removed them from class.

Only later did I learn this was her difficult group. So, I totally made the right call.

Now, perhaps I'm good for another several years until another one of these happens on my watch.

Samuel stopped by after class looking for candy he had left in the room. He told me that Jeremy had accidentally knocked the stuff off his desk. I wasn't surprised. Maybe next time Samuel will ask for an apology rather than losing his cool.

24 comments:

  1. Yep, but they are in middle school. That's a lesson they'll learn in the hard knocks of this world type scenarios. And you had to call because it would have gotten around school that you were a "softie" if you hadn't, plus you know the rules you have to follow.

    betty

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  2. Hi Liz - let's hope so ... well done on making the right call re the class. Have a good weekend - Hilary

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  3. Good for you for calling security because this could have easily escalated outside or the next time they are in your class. Maybe Samuel needs some anger counselling

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    1. He probably does. At that age, they are all a bit volatile.

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  4. Wow! Boys and their hormones. Sounds like you did the right thing.

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    1. Yup, that age. And all in the same room...

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  5. Liz, you did the right thing. My father was a teacher and later an assistant principalin a junior high. He once got in the middle of a fight between two boys, and he wound up with a broken nose. the kid didn't mean to hit my father, he took a swing atthe other kid and missed...

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    1. Yeah, I won't get in the middle of those things. I'm not trained, and I'm sure I'd get hit.

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  6. That must have been stressful. I'm surprised they didn't get suspended because of it.

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  7. Good on you. And oh, my gosh, I'm reminded of a cool video. I shared it during the A-Z blog challenge one year but still like the production. :) Be well!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAlHISTNbwY

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  8. Well done. I don't know what I would have done at this point.

    The Christmas ornament is lovely! I will be putting up a post on the wkend after T-giving.

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  9. You followed policy. That was the right thing to do, and teachers lose all respect if the kids think they can do what they want.

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  10. I think you made a good call. They need to see that fighting in class is not acceptable behavior.

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    1. It's not, even when no punches were thrown.

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  11. Kids are awful impulsive at that age. They'll get it eventually (I hope!)

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  12. That would be nice if Samuel learned his lesson.

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  13. Kids that age just think they are so tough...haha when I was in the 8th I got into my one and only fight in Science class. Teacher told us to take it to the hall and when we finished swinging it out she asked was we finished then told us to come back in and sit down and get to work....haha. Yep, I was one of those "I am tough" teens! Keep in mind, I generally did not go lookig for trouble but there was this girl that followed me around like a lost puppy, she sat behind me in class and kept poking me asking me questions, hovering over me and looking at my paper....I had taken enough!

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    1. It's the age. Just like we did, they'll grow out of it. Lucky you didn't get suspended for that.

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  14. Whew. A good thing that's not an every day occurrence at least.

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  15. I'm glad that doesn't happen every day. I don't blame you for calling security.

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    1. If it happened every day, I think I'd find a new line of work.

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  16. My eldest Barbarian was in a French language class with a bad teacher who didn't set a level of tolerance for behaviour. Things got very bad and he left. The next teacher was then faced with trying to bring things back up to an acceptable standard - of course, things got worse before they got better. I heard from the second teacher who said Heckle would sit and try and work while desks were being thrown in the class. Any wonder he gave up French!

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