Is it possible that there's just something enlivening about a poorly behaved class? Today got started on a very bad note. Eight grade science in a rather rough middle school. The whole group of them came in with attitude, ready to take on the sub. Maybe I hadn't finished my coffee, maybe there were just more of them than there was me, maybe I just wasn't ready to be taken on. I started off firm and clear, still there were a couple of boys who simply wouldn't be quiet, one boy in particular who consistently called back to his friends in another language. I had only just taken roll, but I had to give these kids a test and no way was it going to happen with this boy in the room. So I referred him to the school's discipline office. Disrupting class, incessant talking, profanity, defiance. You could have heard a pin drop for the rest of the test.
The rest of the day the classes gradually got better, and the effects of too many late nights began to get me going on the yawns. By the time my best class sat down in their seats working diligently and silently I thought I was going to have to scream to stay awake. How could I be so bored when only a couple hours earlier I was working to play at the top of my game not to loose control of an entire classroom? Fortunately the final class of the day hit the perfect mark. A few testy kids who needed a little wrangling to get focused on learning science. I was surprised to feel almost grateful for their misbehaving -- anything to ease the boredom of too many students doing exactly what they were supposed to! There's something to be said for a little attitude.