Apparently, the last month of school is the elementary equivalent of a constant full moon. Kids who were once decent, mild-mannered, and well behaved now turn into Mr. Hyde.
The third grade is going on a field trip this Friday (weather permitting) to a nearby park for a day of outdoors fun. For the past couple of weeks, we have been trying to maintain order by implementing a system of "three strikes and you're out” in regards to this field trip. A strike can be given because of the student not doing homework, fighting, disrespect, etc.
Oh, and for playing with spinners. If you're not familiar with spinners, then congratulations -- they are a major headache. Put simply, they are little paper constructs that the kids play with all day long if you let them. Mrs. Educator and I both made it very clear that a strike would automatically be given to anyone seen making or playing with a spinner. Not believing us, one of our kids pulled out a spinner the very next day and got smacked down for it. The next day, he got his second strike for playing with a spinner again! And yesterday, one of our little girls who already had two strikes made a spinner in class. These kids are no doubt going to grow up to be the people who think that THEY will be the one to survive going over Niagara Falls in the barrel.
Now, two days before the field trip, Mrs. Educator and I have five kids who have already gotten three strikes, and two more who have two strikes! In all, there are already 16 third-graders who have lost their privilege of going with us on Friday. It's gotten to the point where one of the third-grade teachers is going to have to stay at school with these kids. I plan on leaving some calculus problems for these miscreants to work on.
Over in the bilingual classes, they have been dealing with a group of kids who stole things from last week's book fair in the library. This is upsetting and disappointing on so many levels. For one thing, we shouldn't have to be dealing with theft at this age. For another, most of these kids don't seem to feel the slightest bit of remorse. In fact, one of them was telling me that she was going to be suspended today in a tone that almost suggested happiness.
Another reason that I find Bilingualgate so depressing is that two of the little girls involved are the cutest, most adorable little munchkins in the whole school. They always come up and talk to me, often in Spanish, and they used to be sweet as well. Just a couple of days ago, they called me over in the lunch line and promised me that they would not get into any more trouble -- even going so far as to pinky swear with me.
Now, that pinky swear has been completely violated. And if you can’t count on the sanctity of a pinky swear, what's the point to life?
I think I understand how Mr. Drummond from Diff’rent Strokes felt when he learned that two of his kids had turned to lives of crime.
All I can do at this point is to try to continue to cultivate and improve the Gary Colemans of the third-grade…