Thursday, December 08, 2011

Don't You Mess With My Teacher!

I'd been having a relatively minor, but annoying, issue in my classroom for, say, a few weeks. My sixth period class is, as a group, quite prompt and is typically completely assembled a little before the bell rings. I'll close my door, get them settled, and they'll start working. However, as anyone who teaches in most any high school can probably guess, my class is the exception rather than the rule. This means that, although my darlings are largely contained at the start of the period, there are still our--how shall I put this?--less motivated students malingering their way to their own classes a minute or two minutes or five minutes later.

One of these malingerers is a young man I'll call Jamal. Jamal has it bad for a young lady I'll call Jessica who happens to be in my sixth period class. Jamal unwisely decided that the best way to get Jessica's attention is to throw open my classroom door and, at full volume, declare his affections for Jessica on an almost-daily basis. Asking politely, then not so politely, for this behavior to stop didn't help. As you can imagine, this does not exactly do wonders for the focus and calm of my class. Rather the opposite.

I didn't know Jamal's name at first, but with a little creative subterfuge I was able to pull it out of Jessica by appealing to her vanity. ("Who is that handsome man coming in here looking for you at the beginning of the period, hmmmm? Aren't you lucky!") Then I sic'd the deans on Jamal's ass, and our most elder-statesmanly dean took him aside for a little man-to-man chat. That was yesterday, but I'm hoping that the days of having my class interrupted by "YO BABY!!!" are over.

Anyway, that's not even the best part of the story. After school yesterday, Jamal was hanging out in the hall with a couple of girls from a different section of my class, young ladies I'll call Natalie and Natasha. Jamal gave me a sheepish look, on which Natasha picked up immediately.

"What did you do to her, Jamal?" she demanded to know.

Jamal explained the situation.

"Jamal, you a clown," Natalie said, shaking her head. "What's wrong with you?"

"I don't know what is wrong with him," Natasha replied on Jamal's behalf, "but let me tell you, I better not hear you doing this bullllllll-shit again. Don't you mess with my teacher. She got enough to worry about with me in her class."

"Um, thanks, Natasha," I said. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Oh, I'll see you tomorrow, Miss Eyre," she said, nodding decisively. "This [expletive]"--she indicated Jamal "--better not see you tomorrow, though."

Jamal looked much more scared than he did when he was with the deans.

(For some more tales of Natasha, who is one of my funniest [intentionally and unintentionally] students, reread "Generosity," and keep in mind that Natasha is Student #1.)

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