Thursday, December 10, 2009

Low Grade Fever

I’ve shared with you before my frightening moment with a student on a progress report day. I’ll be honest with you; that was something I never want to experience again. Luckily, an exchange I had with a student yesterday about his grade wasn’t quite as violent, but just as strange.

Now I have a multitude of kids at this time of the year who want to argue about their grade. Never are they as so passionate as they are at the end of the semester when they are desperate for a passing grade. During the year, the idea of cracking a book every once and a while doesn’t appeal to them, nor does turning in an assignment. At this time, though, they provide a list of reasons that I have failed them as a teacher and demand a least a 70 as restitution.

So why was I shocked when this young man, all blurry eyed, stumbled up to me and mumbled, “Dude, why are you giving me a 64 in your class?”

After scrunching my face for a moment to provide this young man time to consider what he just asked I had to respond, “Well, I don’t have my grade book with me, but I don’t think that would matter since I have never seen you before in my life.”

I’m serious. I didn’t have a clue as to who this kid was. At least when that kid blew-up at me, I knew who he was. That’s why I probably found myself in a staring contest with him as he tried to process what was happening. Tried to process:

“But I turned my science project in.”

“Sir,” I tried to get his attention as his mind started wander again, “Sir, I’m not your science teacher. I’m an English teacher. I’m not your English teacher, but I am an English teacher.”

I’m challenged to another staring contest, but I know I can’t win.

“You’re confusing me with your science teacher. What’s your science teacher’s name? What’s his name?”

Progress came in the form of a shoulder shrug.

“Do you even have a male science teacher?”

He fell back into staring, so I decided to rephrase the question. I asked as slow a possible, “Is your science teacher a boy teacher or a girl teacher?”

He thought ever so hard, “Girl teacher.”

This stumped me long enough for him to run away. Was he teasing me? Was he drug addled? What? I would have let his counselor or AP know about it—if I had a freakin’ clue to who he was.

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