Monday, May 03, 2010

To the Letter

I’m not going to say that the strangest thing happened on Friday. That honor goes to the time that student of mine did nothing for an entire week but sang the Meow Mix tune for the next entire week. Even when he raised his hand to answer a question it was that dang song. I didn’t write him up, though. I finally just brought in a spray bottle and squirted him every time he started into the song. It seemed to work.

Still, what happened after school last Friday was a doozie. This kid, whom I’ve never seen before, slipped into my room. He didn’t say a word and sat at the desk closest to the door. A mixture of curiosity and nerves encouraged me to get the ball rolling on what the heck was going on.

“Can I help you?”

The word “letter” rebounded right back to me.

Not quite understanding what he meant, I had to do some prodding. It turned out that he was in search of someone to help him with a letter of apology to the school for being kicked out for shenanigans. This letter was part of a list of tasks he had to complete to make right his wrongs.

I’m not too sure what a letter does for behavior modification with a jack-a-ninny. I’ve always envisioned something a little more extreme, like pouring something into a wound. I guess it is all about perspective, though. To a jack-a-ninny, writing a letter probably is just as painful.

I asked him if he would be more comfortable (because I certainly would have been) going to his English teacher since we were complete strangers. Unfortunately, he didn’t know where her class was because attending class wasn’t really his thing. I believed him since he referred to her as “Whatsherface.” Oh yes, let’s get this kid back into school, so he can continue not to attend. Wait a second….

Still this could have been the crucial moment where this kid gets his act together and begins to do something with his life, so I thought I would give it a crack.

“Have you written anything yet?”


“Well you probably have to get something on paper first, and then we’ll have a better chance of getting this done.”

That’s when he pulled out a typed sheet of paper with his first draft. What is it about asking teens questions? It is instinctive for their first response to be false. I get it all the time, whether I’m asking about homework or what page they are on in a book. The first answer they give me is never true.

This paper he handed me was a piece of work, let me tell you. First of all, it had a title. It was in a giant font, in bold, and read: IM SORRY! It was certainly a case of too much punctuation in one place and not enough in another. Also, it wasn’t addressed to anyone. This thing followed no letter format that I was aware of, but then again, it did have a title.

The body didn’t improve the situation. That alone took a couple of hours. We spent hours on the thing. We learned that a period doesn’t make a sentence complete. We learned about the magic of paragraphs. We learned that we shouldn’t be too quick to utilize swear words in letters of apology.

Finally, I was able to send him on his way with a salvaged letter of apology. I must admit that it was a genuine learning moment we experienced. That was nice, but is it bad of me to be more excited about the fact that I would probably never see this kid ever again?

Atom XML

My site was nominated for Best Education Blog!
My site was nominated for Best Humor Blog!

[ Recent Posts ]

~Jerk Zombies

~This blog has moved

~Web Site News


~A New Suit

~In My Spare Time I Teach

~Fail Safe

~Care Less

~Blah Appétit

~Here’s Pie in Your Eye

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. That's our story and we're sticking to it.