I teach one class of algebra I that drives me crazy. Nothing like what my good friend Pissed Off Teacher is going through, but it's enough to make me crave a strong margarita at 9:30 in the morning.
In this class of 9th graders there are 14 boys and 3 girls. That is there were 3 girls. One of the girls withdrew from school yesterday to enroll in a private school. That leaves 14 boys and 2 girls. For an entire year, I have dealt with all types of mischief in this class. One day during the passing period, I entered the room to find one of the boys had put hand sanitizer all over the door handle. I have lots of running, horseplay, getting out of their seats, loud talking, strange bodily noises, and on and on. A lesson that takes 15 minutes to teach in my other algebra I classes, takes 30 minutes to teach in this class because of all the interruptions. On top of that, only about 25% of the class passed for the semester. Isn't that terrible? A 75% failure rate! See, Pissed Off, there are worse things than being the 60% teacher!
I cannot get these lovely children to do a bit of homework. I call home, I send letters, I counsel. I do everything I can possibly think of but no matter what I do nothing changes. I've resigned myself to the fact that whatever we do as a class is all they are really going to do.
But today something strange happened. I was teaching the lesson and I looked out and every single person was writing down the examples on the hand out I had given them. I didn't believe it so I took a stroll around the room in between examples, and sure enough EVERY SINGLE student had written down the first three examples.
I stopped them all right there and declared that the entire class was going to get 5 bonus points on that days assignment because I was so excited that the entire class was on task.
Here is where it gets interesting. This one boy (who is quite outgoing) says to me, "Miss don't you get it?" I said, "No, get what?"
He said, "That girl, that cute one with the curly brown hair isn't in our class anymore. I just couldn't think straight when she was in here. She was so hot that it just took my breath away!"
Immediately all the boys began talking at once. They all chimed in agreeing with the first boy. I heard comments like "She made me dizzy every time I looked at her." And "I just couldn't stop staring at her." This went on and on for about 5 minutes with nearly every single boy making a comment on the mesmerizing powers of this young lady.
By this time I was cracking up. I said, "You mean to tell me that this is why you boys have been acting like idiots since August. Do you mean to tell me that all this foolishness was just to get this one girl's attention?"
The first boy piped up, "Yeah, pretty much."
Now, I don't know if anything will get better or not on a permanent basis, but I sure did enjoy the fact that for one day every single person was learning.