Saturday, March 06, 2010

F Week

It's the beginning of 5th period, and the lesson has begun. A male student asks to "go give something to the people out in the hall."

I decline his request, afterall, the tardy bell is history and we are in class now.
We carry on.

I see his eyes dart to the door every so often.

5 more minutes pass in our lesson on water resources and then he asks to step outside to blow his nose ... a common request. Kids prefer to snort into a kleenex in private.

I usually say yes to that, but this time, ... suspicious ... I say, " If you can answer this question, I'll let you go."

I'm pretty sure he wants to go meet whoever was in the hall and now I suspect they are still there, skipping class.

I ask him a simple review question from last chapter.
He can't answer it.

"Okay, well, sorry, but you can't go." (Keep in mind, he has not sniffled once all period)
I add, " ... and I think maybe the hall people are still at my door."

Turning, I walk quickly to the door and open it.

There are two girls horsing around in the hall.

I ask them why they are in the hall with no passes. The lead girl says she's here for her phone. The boy in question has it.
I tell them to go back to class.
They refuse ... rudely. Note to self: Write them up for skipping and defiance.
I ask them for their names.
They refuse. Note: Defiance again.

At about this point, an arm appears from behind me in the open doorway. It's the boy from my class and he is attempting to pass the girls the phone in question.

She reaches for it, just touches it with her finger tips and I snatch it in a movement that would have made the Chinese master monk from the old Kung Fu series proud.

I pocket the phone. She's not going to be rude, defiant, and get her phone back any time soon.

She goes off ..."GIVE ME MY PHONE YOU M.F. !!"



"No, and you need to go to the office."


She storms off down the hall with her assistant.

I walk back into my classroom and my 5th period class, which can be a real management challenge, is sitting there silent, their eyes huge.

" Gosh, I can't remember the last time I've been cussed out like that." I say to them.

They take a breath.

"Let's talk about this after I make a quick phone call."

I call up to the office where the two girls have arrived and mouth is going off down there too. I tell them I have the phone and I'll write up the discipline referral and bring the phone down during my planning period.

I turn to my class and lead a quick, " Now what should that girl have done?" discussion.

We discuss her bad decisions ... skipping class instead of just waiting until the next class change, defiance, insubordination... all the things that made a simple situation a serious discipline referral. I talk about "writing your own ticket" and keeping your cool even when something upsets you.

I think they feel sorry for me, because they are good as gold the rest of the period.

The next morning, a sixth grade girl passes me in the hallway (our school is 6-12) loudly announcing to her friends, " I'm sick of her F***ing Sh*t!".

At this point, I'm about totally saturated with the F word from the mouths of kids, so I call her on it and send HER to the office.


In other F news ...

Next week is the FCAT, our Florida standardized high stakes test so the kids and the teachers are bracing for a week of testing, filling in little dots, and writing brief essays.

Next week will be a total wash as far as learning is concerned.
We'll be weighing our sheep not feeding them.

Let's see ... there must have been some good F news ...

Oh yeah, the FFA had their annual FFA Food Festival to raise money for scholarships.

They sold tickets for a wonderful feast of swamp cabbage, vension stew, succatash, fried mullet, hushpuppies, gumbo, mac and cheese, green beans, bbq pork, bbq sausages, chicken and rice ... and a ton of deserts.

Missing this year was the boiled in the husk corn Mrs. FC and I usually prepare. There is no corn in Florida due to the intense cold weather. Usually by now, fresh corn from down south would be available ... but not this year.

Besides, the dinner ticket sales, there was a cake auction with a professional auctioneer and a silent auction.

Mrs. FC's pecan praline cake went for $60 and then was donated back for reauctioning and on the second round it brought in $110 ... all for FFA scholarships!

There was also a silent auction for goodies in the back of the room.
The "Guy Basket" below was put together by Mrs. FC and her cohorts.

In the silent auction, you write down your name and bid on the paper in front of each item.

Here's what was in the Guy Basket.

It finally went at a price of $180.

I had to include this picture for my buddy, Three Collie. This cow cake was part of the cake auction.

I give it two F's ... Fine and Funny.

Thanks for listening, Y'all have a Fantastic, Freewheeling, Frivolous, Fun weekend!


Cathy S. said...

I hate the F word, too. The one you wrote the kids up, but the one that ends in cat as well.

Deb said...

"weighing the sheep, not feeding them"- so true!

Datil seeds arrived this week! Thanks!

LJ said...

That has got to be very upsetting to hear these "kids" speak and act like that - especially to a figure of authority. It is really quite shocking. In my day, defiance and insubordination were done sneakily, as we had real fear of consequences;)

bill said...

So, you not only love nature, you need it. People, especially new ones, are so unnatural.

Florida Beach Basics said...

Unfortunately, the F word can be heard in the workplace also, spoken by both men and women (I won't use the words gentlemen and ladies for these folks). Usually they say it a little softer, as though that will help make it more acceptable. Most of them do not say it around me more than once.

I'm sure enforcing civil language in a school environment is a thankless task, but this at least provided you with a good "teaching moment."

Sayre said...

Wow. I would have never DREAMED of talking to a teacher like that. Good for you for writing them up. And the boy in your class? Was he listening when you had your little chat with the rest of teh class?

Got my seeds! Hoping to plant them in starter cups today!

cinbad122 said...

Fabulous! Freezing! Festive! Farting? Future!

robin andrea said...

That sounds like quite an experience. I can't even begin to imagine talking to a teacher like that. It's pretty shocking behavior. I have no problem at all with the "F" bomb, but in appropriate settings and certainly never directed personally at anyone.

I think you modeled excellent behavior, FC.

Kimberlee said...

Yes...unfortunately, the F word has spread its nasty seed to the farthest reaches of the continent (world?). We deal with it here too. I LOVE that you intercepted the phone. We seem to have the same notions about privileges that some kids mistake for basic rights. :)

I would love to have tasted that $170 pecan praline cake!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you explained the meaning of FCAT. For a minute, I thought you were setting a bad example for the kids.

cndymkr / jean said...

My hat is off to you for not losing it. I am amazed at what the kids can say and do today. Lord, now I sound like my mother.

And congrats to Mrs. FC on her cake! How exciting to have it sold not once but twice. Great job.

Felicia said...

Yikes. Unfortunately, the mouthiness, disrespect, and insubordination don't always go away when the kids grow up--I get a lot of the same from my university kids, and my charges are supposed to be the best and brightest in Florida. You were doing those girls a favor by turning them in; I suspect they acted and talked like that because nobody had ever called them out on it until you did. I'm glad you turned this into a constructive moment for the rest of your class, too.

Benn, Dover and Koff said...

Dear Defendant,

Our firm has been hired on behalf of a student at your School's Mother and Babydaddy. It's quite clear that you violated this innocent young angel's 1st, 4th, and 12th amendment rights with your boorish assaultive behavior.

Herewith, therefor, consider yourself on notice that we WILL pursue legal remedies on behalf of our client.

However, a 7500 dollar check to our firm plus a generous donation to Obama2012 might forestall said actions.


J. Whitney Benn

jojo said...

Fabulous post FC.... :)

I had a period of time where the swearing was a bit much. I remembered that i was more creative then that. smarter didn't work. creative did. what creative word could i use instead. Seemed to break me of that habit.

and you hold much restraint, and probably why you're a teacher and i'm not as i would've shoved that phone down her throat! :)

roger said...

admirable cool fc. love the kung fu move.

Sharon said...

I'm almost positive I've told you this before, but I could NEVER do what you do - it takes a gift and you have it my internet friend :)

(Now that's an F word I can get behind - Friend!)

Dani said...

I would have had a hard time keeping my cool after something like that. Even better than keeping your cool was how you handled the class after it happened. Awesome!

Got my seeds this afternoon. Thank you so much! Gonna plant them first thing in the morning.

Sandcastle Momma said...

I'm with Dani, keeping your cool in that situation was awesome! I see where training from your previous career comes in handy.
I hear the F word often from kids (not mine!) and it always makes me cringe but I cannot wrap my mind around talking to an authority figure that way. Makes the statement "What is this world coming to?" really hit home.

Floridacracker said...

Wonderful input as usual my friends.

I'm responding to a few specific points y'all made, rather than being repetitive okay?

1. Not losing it - I don't lose it... When kids are losing it, you need to be as calm and firm as possible. It defuses most situations... not all.

2. The teachable moment - Having that class discussion regarding "what should she have done?" gives the kids a chance to see you are invulnerable to that kind of attack, that it's just like water off a duck's back. It also gives the inner you, the one that wanted to respond in kind, a chance to calm down ... it's like therapy.

3. I won't lie and say I have never dropped the F bomb, but my swearing is rare, never at work, and usually limited to dammit. Not an angel okay?
My personal belief on profanity is it should be used very sparingly and for effect.
What's sad these days is it's everyday speech for way too many kids and at a waaaaaaay too young age.

4. This was a pair of high school girls who have never passed through my classes. They probably would not have tried this doorway manuever had they ever spent time with me, because they would have known it was a dead end.

5. The kid gets half the blame here and the other half is squarely on the parents. When kids come to school with no manners, short fuses, selfish and rude behaviors, etc, ... you can bet that's the way it is at home. This is verified over and over again at parent teacher meetings.
The apples don't fall far from the tree.

6. Thanks for taking the time on your weekend to comment. In some ways, y'all are my therapy too.


cinbad122 said...

I agree 100% with you!

S N B said...

AMEN! to your #5!!

Anonymous said...

I thought the upshot of the story was going to be that YOU were the one disciplined. Phew.

Can't recall ever hearing f-this, f-that, or f-you said in front of a teacher when I was in school. But that was another time and place and there was always that statue of Myles Standish pointing the finger of admonition down at you.

Love the guy basket! Great job!

Thunder Dave said...

F-ing incredible story, FC! You F-ing handled it with F-ing professionalism, and your F-ing perspective and advice are F-ing dead on the F-ing mark! ;-)

Miz S said...

Wow, I wish I had visited in a more timely manner. Won't stop me from putting in my 2 cents, though.

As you know, I curse like a sailor. However. There is a time and a place.

The most disturbing aspect of that vignette is the explosive anger and defiance that is so close to the surface. Kids like that are time bombs (as you very well know) and are a danger to themselves and other.

But here's what really gets me: having to use a planning period to write up discipline referrals...LIKE TEACHERS HAVE EXTRA TIME ON THEIR HANDS FOR THAT $^&(*&%%$...stuff.

Bill said...

I am so glad we never used the F word when we were in Middle school or High School. I always tell my kids when they hear that or use it (you should see the e-mails I found im my daughters account)that they are only showing off their limited vocabulary. Teens are full of anger and rage, it goes with the territory, especially the girls. Of course you should not have to put up with it and I think you probably handled it much better than I would have. I usually resort to yelling and punishing to the ends of the earth, only to amend the punishment later.

Thanks for sharing,


Julie Zickefoose said...

Wow. Just wow. Finest moment: snatching the phone in mid-hand. Second finest moment: Using it as a teachable moment. I am sure most of those kids were just as appalled as you were. Societal pressure will, unfortunately, have to limit the behavior of kids who are just copying their parents. So sad. This girl was probably one of those babies I see in Wal-Mart, who I want to grab and run off with to get them away from the parents they've been cursed to be born to. That isn't English, but I think you know what I mean. They all start off sweet and perfect, and it's up to their parents to ruin or preserve that sweetness and perfection.