My journey to shoot for the moon.

I should have known that I was in for a real treat after reading the teachers plans.  He said that many of the kids didn’t have wood for projects.  I was not to give out any wood.  The kids that didn’t have wood were to sit in their seats.  And they were supposed to have brought something to do.  He said that any kids who was out of their seat, I should ask to leave and mark them absent.  Finally, he said that the class was good, except for one table and “Don’t let any student give you any gruff.This class was Woodworking I.  A total of 3 students had wood so that they could work on projects.  Wonderful, now what do I do with the remaining kids?  One table (of girls) got out homework and got to work.  The worked the entire period.  A few boys got out iPods, etc.  And then there was the one table.  Wait.  Where did those kids go?  Crap!  They are at a machine.  A sander-thingie.  Are they doing what I think they are doing???  Yes, they are tossing wood at that sander-thingie.  That is DANGEROUS!  And they aren’t supposed to be out of their seats.

Me:  That is not safe use of tools.   Turn off the machine and go sit down.

Student:  You mean, go sit down please.

Me:  No.  I mean go sit down.  It isn’t a request.  It is an order.

Student goes to sit down.  A full minute later, student gets out of chair and walks over to the tool cabinet.

Me:  You are not supposed to be out of your seat.  Go sit down.  You need to raise you hand and ask permission to get up.

Student:  You mean, go sit down please.

Me:  No I don’t.  Put your rear in your chair and stay there.

Two minutes pass.  Student has a hammer and a chisel.  Not sure where he got them.  He is pounding the hammer on the chisel on his planner.

Me:  You are not supposed to be using tools if you don’t have wood.

I take the hammer and the chisel.

Another minute passes.

Student:  Can I go get some ice?

Me:  Why?

Student:  For my tongue.

The student apparently had his tongue pierced.

Me:  No.

Student:  Why not?

I engaged in purposeful ignoring.  That is, I pretended not to notice the student.  Actually, I wished I could pound his head with the chisel and hammer.

Student:  Are you going to pay my medical bills when I have to have this surgically removed?  If my tongue swells, I’ll have to have it surgically removed.

I continued ignoring the student.

Student:  Can I go get some ice?  Please?  I need some ice.

I asked the aide to escort the student to the office and bring him back after he got ice.

When he was gone, it was pretty quiet.  But it didn’t last long enough.

Student:  I need something to break up the ice.  It won’t fit in my mouth.

I ignored him.

He got a chisel and was attempting to chisel the ice.  YUCK!  There was sawdust on everything!  And who knows what else.  I took the chisel away.

The student then began to play the Hand Knife Game with his keys.  You know this game.  The one where you place your hand on the table, palm down and see how fast you can move the knife between your fingers without taking off a finger.

Student:  Ow! That hurts.  Can I have a band-aid?

Me:  No.

Student:  But I’m bleeding.  I need to go get a band-aid.

Me:  No.

Student:  Please?

At this point, another student gave him a band-aid and said, “Now will you please shut up.”

Student begins playing the Hand Knife Game again.

Student:  Ow! Ow! Can I have another band-aid?

Me:  No.

Student:  But I’m bleeding all over the table (and he was).  Can I have a paper towel?

I took the student’s keys and put them on the desk.

Student:  You can’t take my keys.  Those are my car keys.  That’s illegal.  I need them.  I’m going to call the police.

The student then took out his phone and began dialing.  I handed him a paper towel.  Then I asked another student to come with me into the hall.  I asked the student to get security.  While I was in the hall, the student took his keys off the desk.

When security arrived, I gave them a quick idea of what was going on and told them that the student needed to leave the class immediately.  Security greeted the student by name.

In the meantime,  one of the other boys at the table had asked if he could go to the vending machine.  Since, I don’t like it when kids don’t follow directions, I told him no (he had been out of his seat roaming around).

When the problem student was removed from the class, it was very quiet.  Most kids were working quietly.  A couple were doing their projects.

The student who asked to go to the vending machine, asked again.  Since he had been compliant since I told him to return to his seat and that he couldn’t go, I said “yes.”

He seemed surprised.  About 20 minutes after he returned, he came up to me and said that he was sorry for giving me a hard time.  I told him I was also sorry that he had given me a hard time and that I was a pretty nice teacher.  He said that he could see that.  It was a little ray of sunshine in my HORRIBLE experience.

(There’s more to the story – watch for Whoopee:  Substituting in Woodworking Part 3).

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