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Friday, April 18, 2008

Lump, revisited

Well, as it was foretold, this was not an easy week with Lump. Here when I agreed to let him come to my classroom (yeah, like I actually had a choice in the matter), I figured it would just be a matter of overlooking the fact that he was doing absolutely nothing and maybe occasionally ignoring little things like ripping paper or muttering under his breath.

Nope, it's been much more of a roller coaster than that. After Monday, when he came to my room and sawed logs, I thought maybe he would be used to this new routine. But when Tuesday morning rolled around, he once again went down to Mrs. Math's room. I had to go down and get him again, though this time, he came without much resistance. He still didn't do any of the math work with us, but when we had our science time, he actually took the book out of his desk and opened it to the correct page. I saw that as a step in the right direction.

Tuesday after school, I was dropping my kids off at the bus (why does that sound like a euphemism?), and I passed Lump. He said, "Hi, Mister Teacher." I replied, "Hey, Lump!" I gave him a high five and asked, "Tomorrow, you're going to come to my room and do some work with us, right?" He nodded, so again I took that as a positive sign.

However, on Wednesday morning, he would not come to my room at all. I finally used breakfast as bait, telling him that he wouldn't get to eat unless he came to my room. That got him into my room quickly enough. He ate his breakfast, then he got up and walked back out of my room, taking up his usual sulking position in the hallway. I eventually had to call the assistant principal down, and when he wouldn't do what she asked him to, she sent him home.

Thursday, guess what happened??? If you guessed, Lump came into my room, sat down, and quietly participated in class -- you OBVIOUSLY haven't been paying attention, so go away! If, instead, you guessed, Lump refused to come into my classroom -- you're absolutely correct!

It's sort of like the movie Groundhog Day, only without any of the humor or snow.

The assistant principal was able to get Lump's mother on the phone, and when he talked to her, she was able to convince him to sit in my classroom.

Which brings us to today. This morning, Lump actually came into my room with the rest of my class and sat down at his desk!!!!! My jaw nearly hit the floor, but I picked it up quickly and greeted him warmly, trying to make the most of the moment.

Almost as soon as his butt touched the seat, he asked to use the bathroom. This is at roughly 7:50 in the morning. I told him kindly but firmly that he would need to wait until 8:50, which is our usual scheduled time. He didn't like that answer, so he got up, walked out of the room, and headed down towards the bathroom anyway. I followed him out into the hallway, pointed my wand at him, and yelled, "Petrificus Totalus!!"

Unfortunately, that had absolutely no effect. (Extreme fundamentalist Christians, take note -- Harry Potter does NOT in fact teach one how to cast spells.)

This time, I had phone numbers ready, and when Lump's mother didn't answer the phone, I was able to reach his grandmother. She didn't have quite the effect his mother had the day before though, and he would not come back to my room. At that point, I was faced with a decision. Spend my entire day trying to verbally coax one kid into my classroom so he can sit there and do nothing, or go back into my classroom and work with the 20 other kids who are doing what they're supposed to, more or less. I hope you'll forgive me if I seem callous or unteacherly, but I don't see that as a very difficult decision.

For the rest of the morning, Lump pretty much wandered up and down the hallway. Sometimes when I glanced out into the hallway, he was sitting in a chair across the hall from my room, and sometimes he wasn't. At some point, he pulled the borders off of one of my bulletin boards out in the hallway.

I'm such a glutton for punishment that I did go out in the hallway one other time this morning, when I saw him scooting himself down the hallway in his chair. I told him that he needed to stop and go back to the desk that was out there. He stared at the wall and said, "I'm not doing nothing!" I said, "You're scooting down the hall in a chair. You need to stop that and go back to the desk." Again, he said, "I'm not doing nothing!" Frustrated, I said, "You're not listening to what I'm saying to you." He replied, "It's because you're white."

Well. Isn't that special?

I got nothin'.


cupcake said...

Does the school allow the kid to scoot up and down the hall? What is the policy on skipping? Why would he come to class? He's having the time of his life, playing with a chair and ripping up bulletin boards. Where is the administration in all of this? You've got nothing. What do they have?

Alane said...

Oh Mr. Teacher! I'm so sorry, and without having had a situation as EXTREME as this one, I have had situations where I had to choose whether to waste time trying to deal with one kid who doesn't want to do anything or try to work with 24 others who do. You're right - it's an easy choice. And administrators are NUTS if they think that any teacher can do both at the same time.

Cupcake is right - administration seriously needs to help you out with this one!! Good luck.

And if you find a magic wand that works, please send one my way!

Mike in Texas said...

I wish I had some words of advice for you dude, but this week I went a little bonkers and made a kid take a pretend "Mind Your Own Business Pill", complete with fake swallowing. I even made him open his mouth to prove he had swallowed it.

Matthew K. Tabor said...

Well, Mister Teacher, I think there's only one solution here. It's time to visit your local tanning salon every day after work. I'd say 4 weeks of daily radiation might give you enough cosmetic-cred to get him to listen.

Mister Teacher said...

Cupcake, it's not school policy, but that doesn't seem to matter to this kid. The asst. principal has been very helpful, but everyone is getting sick and tired of attending to this kid every day.
Matthew, I'll consider the Soul Man route, but with my luck, I'd turn orange...

Anonymous said...

He's obviously trying to get sent back to his preferred teacher. Kids like these play adults against each other, so what needs to happen is a meeting with you, the AP, Mrs. Math, Lump, and Lump's mom. That way everyone is on the same page, everyone knows the plan, and the consequesnces for not following the plan. As for the race comment, it's important for the other adults to be aware of what happened, and you should make it clear that you do not and will not play the race game. But my guess is he may or may not actually have an issue with teachers of color, he's just trying to see what will push your buttons. Don't let him play you, communication and consistency are key. Good luck!!