Perhaps it is this unremitting winter, or perhaps it is the inconsistent schedule due to snow days, or maybe it is something in the water, but whatever the case, reason has been taken prisoner. High school students are always prone to bouts of insanity, but these past two weeks have been especially full of the bizarre, the rebellious, and the unexplainable. Still, I am sure that my students at their worse don’t compare with truly awful pupils. The rebellion and defiance exhibited at our school is often humorous . . . long after the fact. Here are some examples:
-I recently had to punish a class for repeated attempts to sing in harmony with the radiator’s droning while I was trying to explain the passé composé. One kid looked back at me and quipped: “How can you blame us – it’s hitting a perfect ‘do’!”
-Somewhere along the line my students decided to start removing their clothes during class. Often I feel that I have to remind students to remain clothed all too frequently for a classical Christian school.
-The best reason I have heard from a student for not having his copy of the poem that his class was memorizing: “Well you see, I was recently hiking on a quest through the Alps and on my 4th day of my journey I came across a very hungry yak. Unlike most ordinary yaks, this one could only live off of poems. I stood there unsure of what to do and he started bleating ‘Poem . . POOOOOEEEEEEMMM!!!!’ So to avoid animal yak cruelty, I had to feed him my poem.” This reason was closely seconded by another student that informed me that his homework was unfortunately “In my other pants.”
Funny though these students are, I (along with all the teachers) have been pulling at my hair lately about how to reassert mid-year authority. In my classes, I have implemented the ancient system of bribing them. Ok, not really bribing, just tangible edible incentives. They start the day with 5 m&m’s in a Dixie cup and every time a single word is spoken in English, I take one and dramatically eat it in front of them. Each week I am decreasing the number of candy pieces by one. The result is that we have total silence, or French being spoken. At this point in the year I am fine with either.