Something weird happened to me last week.
Which is saying something, considering I teach eleven year olds. It was Thursday afternoon, and one of my said eleven year olds lost his mind. We were quietly having independent reading time (to decompress from two weeks of testing). Not weird.
Two of my boys would not stay on task, constantly whispering back and forth and playing around. Still not weird. Aggravating, but not weird.
One of them is constantly off task and giving me attitude, but the other child is usually well-mannered and tries to do what I ask, although he’s very easily distracted. So I asked well-mannered J to move to another desk across the room. Here’s where the weirdness begins. Though usually compliant, he refused to acknowledge that I was speaking to him and kept his back to me. Huh.
So I told him to move to time out. J turns his back to me, slams his chair in, heads to the time out desk and throws his belongings on the desk against the wall it was facing. Now that’s weird.
Due to his inappropriate behavior, I asked him to bring me his planner so I could write a note to his family about said behavior. He refused to get up. Weird and aggravating. I repeated my request as a command. Still no movement. What the heck??
When I picked up my phone and started dialing the office, he complied. After a little back talk, I told him to go ahead down to the office and I would send his discipline referral along. He punched the door and left. Beyond belief.
Shortly after he left, I spoke with J’s homeroom teacher. Seems his grandfather had thrown away the child’s speech that he had written for the speech contest, which was to be held that very morning. This is A BIG DEAL in our school district. All fourth and fifth graders in the county are supposed to participate. And Grandpa threw away all his hard work. That was before he got to school. Then a classmate, who has trouble getting along with anybody, got into it with J and almost started a fight with him. It had been a miserable, miserable day for him.
The young man was sent back upstairs to apologize to me. And he indeed gave me one of the most heartfelt apologies I’ve heard in a long time. And he’s been fine ever since.
Moral of the story: Everyone has a bad day once in awhile. Forgive them.