Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mrs. Suzuki

I subbed in the same 4th grade class for three days in a row. By day three, I may have lost my cool a few times (maybe 10 times more than a few, to be honest). While I was explaining to the students how to form a strong hypothesis, from the corner front of the room, Big Frank (BF) stood up from his chair and began switching off and on the photo projector I was using to explain that day's science experiment.

Prior to this, BF had caused me some major grief. He threw paper balls at his study partner's head, "accidentally" slapped a half-blind boy on the knee, and disrupted my lectures with his nonsensical remarks. In my heart, though, I kind of loved Frank. I loved him because I knew he's the kind of boy who needed the extra love.

But my love is not patient, and so, I stopped my lecture and loudly clapped my hands three times. Then I said, "Outta here, Frank!" pointing to the classroom door. He immediately burst into hysteria, slammed his rear in his seat, and began sobbing with his head buried in the palms of his hands. The whole class waited in silence as I walked over to BF and said, "It breaks my heart to send you away, but you have shown disrespect to me, and to this entire class."

OK, you're going to hate me for what I did next.

I continued, "BF, I'm going to give you one more chance. (One more chance! Can you believe I gave him another chance?) "Will you show respect for me and the rest of the class?"

"Yes," he said, wiping his booger nose.

Do you think BF was good for the rest of class? No, he wasn't, FYI. But sometimes, when you're at the end of your rope, another student will rescue you by leaving a little note on your desk. The above mentioned pep talk is what got me through my last three hours with BF. My favorite sentence in the note is, "She was able to deal with us telling her what to do again and again." It's true. They helped me again and again, and I tried to do it all the right way.