Subbed today at a middle school. I was the resource room teacher, meaning that i was responsible for several periods of special needs students. The faculty and staff were wonderful, very pleasant and helpful. The kids were not quite "the worst" as one of the staff said. But they were pretty close. When the secretary told me that I was finished at 2:15, I offered to help her for the last period of the day.
"You'll be ready to go," she said. "We want you to come back."
Greg, the custodian, saw me consulting my map, and he showed me to the classroom, and told me not to take any grief from anyone. He also said he would check on me periodically. If the kids got really out of hand, he said, let the teacher next door know. "She don't play," he said. He told me they called the classroom "the zoo."
First period I spent in eighth grade literature. The teacher was trying to teach "The Diary of Anne Frank." Unfortunately he was overwhelmed by six boys who were so badly behaved i thought that they might have Tourette's. One kid banged his text book on the desk for several minutes, and the teacher, much to his credit, completely ignored it. To be a middle school teacher, you have to be deaf, dumb, and blind, but not too of any of these sometimes. I asked him how he keeps it together, and he said he is retiring at the end of the year. Who could blame him?
It didn't help that their classroom was small and tight, with poor air circulation. Seven kids behaved so badly. I sent them to the principal's office. Finally, in the last eighth grade period, they were so rude that i told them to close their mouths and put their heads on the desks. There were two great paraprofessionals who did the heavy lifting, and i turned it over to them.
I was glad to leave at the end of the day. Aside from the kids, a really big disappointment was when the assistant principal brought back one of the worst behaved boys. He didn't make the kid apologize of anything. He gave me a look that said he was tired of dealing with my behavior problems.