Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 14 2011

Skeletons in closets

Today I had a kid walk out of my classroom without permission. He was staying for a required tutoring session after school, and since parents had been notified we aren’t allowed to let the kids leave before the hour ends. This kid was fuming mad about the tutoring because he was missing football practice and was terrified of being kicked off the team. He was crying nonstop (see my last post!) and was unable to control his frustration. Finally, after about 40 minutes of me trying every strategy in the book to get him to calm down, stay, and work, he couldn’t take it anymore. He slowly packed up his stuff, while watching me and crying, and I could see in his eyes that he was terrified to leave but determined to do it anyway. He ignored my requests and then my commands to not leave the classroom, and walked right out.

I got my dean to intercept him, and the second time he tried to walk out of the classroom I succeeded in making him stay for the last five minutes, but that’s not the point. The point is that I work at this sweet school with incredible kids who are wonderfully behaved all the time, and I have a kid walk out on me?! Maybe I have the worst classroom management on the entire planet. In my two years at my old school, I did have three kids total walk out of my classroom, but those were such extreme students they were practically caricatures of what to worry about in a classroom. Them walking out was all in good context and I was usually beaming with pride that no one had been hurt. And then here I am, getting punked by an 11-year-old? Have I completely lost my touch already?

Then I come to learn that this is actually the most self-control this kid has ever exercised when he was so frustrated. Earlier in the year, he threw a screeching, stomping, crying tantrum when he had to miss football. Last year, as a fifth grader, he beat up an adult and locked him in a closet. Wait, do you want to read that sentence again? Here it is: Last year, as a fifth grader, he beat up an adult and locked him in a closet. I’m now going to count my blessings… my day could have been worse than a walk-out.

I didn’t know such little kids had it in them. Maybe these charter school kids really do have some skeletons in their closets. (Ha. Get it?)

4 Responses

  1. katelyn

    Why are you making this child miss football which he clearly loves. Find another time to tutor him, don’t torture him. Did you ever play sports? Have a dream? Want be really good at something? I’m glad he walked out.

  2. Miss J

    Yeah, I totally agree! I mean, how important is school anyway? Nobody actually USES math, and if he totally bombs, it isn’t a big deal, because if he doesn’t get the basic skills now, someone will teach him eventually. Like, in high school. Sports are super important. They build character. I mean, that’s how he’ll get into college!

    Of course, he’ll probably end up going to community college where he’ll most likely
    never being seen by anyone important, and then, all his dreams of being some big amazing all-star in the NFL will go swirling down the toilet….. But hey, he had a fun childhood! Hopes and dreams built this country! Not hard work! Nothing tangible! Just dreams.

    While we’re on the subject, what’s the point of language arts? I say all the kids should walk out and become comic book writers and actors and famous rap stars! I mean, who needs to understand how to use punctuation and vocabulary? Who needs to be able to analyze text?

    Clearly, you’re successful, and you know nothing about the English language!

    Screw school! Anarchy for all! Dream big, kids, and throw caution to the wind.

  3. Beaver

    seriously. what is more important than 6th grade football? he is living the DREAM! you should just resign because i think your priorities are all wrong…who needs math when you have junior middle school sports practices to attend???

  4. Anna

    Very glad you weren’t harmed! But… let’s see, he feels like a star in sports, like a moron in math… so where do you think he’d rather be? Ask the coach to explain he has to come to practice AFTER tutoring. Coaches understand that academics come first, and if his grades go down too much he can’t be on the team anyway.

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