Who’s Learning What?

This is what happened.

I was in the junior English class. Somehow, one of the boys who transferred in at mid-term did not have a workbook. I borrowed one from another of my students to make copies of Frederick Douglass’s biography, which is what we are studying.

You have to bear in mind, maybe, that this was seventh period and the seventh period class generally sleeps. A lot. Actually, somebody is always asleep in my classes, but first and seventh periods are the worst. Add to that the fact that generally they hate English, and maybe you can imagine how rowdy they get, which is at least part of the reason I am in there.

Anyway, the boy saw what I was doing and yelled out, “NOOOOOO! I don’t want to read! I’m not going to work!”

Whereupon, for some reason  (since this is not my norm), I looked at him and said, “I don’t remember asking you if you wanted to or not, and I don’t particularly care.”

I spoke calmly, but several students turned to me, open-mouthed.

When the boy recovered, what he said was, “Wow! She got mean for once!”

And the girl from whom I borrowed the notebook looked up at me and said, also calmly,  “It’s about time.”

Now, you realize that I am an aid, so discipline in the classes where I work is up to the teacher, not me. Still, my question to you is this: Is the lesson in my comment, since there appears to be one, for the kids?

Or is it for me?


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April 2008
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