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Monday, April 14, 2008

His name is Lump

There is a kid in the third grade who is not new to my school but who came to my class for the first time today. He had been in another section, but things weren't working out for him so well over there. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that he would suddenly start screaming at the teacher for no reason, or that he would channel his inner Bobby Knight and throw chairs across the room. Whatever the reason, my colleague Mrs. Math (who just so happens to be petite AND pregnant) no longer felt safe with this kid in the room, so it was decreed that he would join my lovable group of misfits and ruffians.

I'm going go ahead and call him Lump, for reasons that will soon be obvious if they aren't already. Lump was supposed to be in my class last Friday morning, but he never came. It wasn't until much later in the day that I heard the whole story about what had been going on that morning.

Lump showed up in Mrs. Math's room on Friday morning, and she immediately told him that he needed to come to my room. He refused, instead deciding to loiter around the bulletin board in the hallway just outside of her classroom. Her partner, Lump's other teacher, also told him that he needed to get his butt over to my room, and he refused her as well.

In due course, Lump outright refused our behavior specialist, our head of special education, our assistant principal, our principal, and a DISD police officer. I think at one point, Chuck E. Cheese and Santa Claus even wandered through the hallway and asked him to go to my room, and he flipped them off as well.

The amazing part to me, though, is that this kid absolutely would not do what the school principal was telling him to do, and there were no consequences for him. He was allowed to just sit out in the hallway and pout. This really makes me wonder about what kind of recourse I have if he ever does anything nutty in my room.

Because he DID finally come to my room -- this morning. A little before eight, I stuck my head out into the hallway and saw him standing down by Mrs. Math's bulletin board again. He was pulling the border off of it. I went down to talk to him.

"Aren't you supposed to be in my room?" I asked him. He shook his head no. "Yeah, you are. You were supposed to be on Friday, also. You're certainly not supposed to be down here pulling apart this bulletin board that your teacher put so much effort into."

He kept pulling the bulletin board apart. I continued, "I really couldn't believe it when I heard that you wouldn't even do what the principal told you to do on Friday. You DO know that if you don't come to my room, you're going to alternative school, right? Is that really what you want?"

After hearing the story about last Friday, I highly doubt that he's on the fast track to alternative school (though that boggles my mind why he wouldn't be) -- but I figured it couldn't hurt to put the scare into him. Turns out, it worked. After talking to Lump, I left him and went to talk for a minute to another teacher. When I came back out of that classroom, Lump had thrown four more papers from the bulletin board onto the hallway floor, but he was making his way towards my classroom.

I thanked him for making a very good choice, I shook his hand, and I got him set up at his desk with a breakfast, milk, and juice. And for the rest of the day, I pretty much ignored him, as I had been instructed to do. He, in turn, lived up to his name of Lump. He did absolutely nothing. I made sure that he had his Problem of the Day spiral notebook and a brand-new pencil, but he certainly did not work on the problem. He just sat there like a lump, except for the 30 minutes or so when he fell asleep and snored loudly.

This is going to be a really fun final six weeks!!!!


cupcake said...

Wait - I teach that kid! He just returned from a 10-day suspension, during which time he evidently wore himself out, because all the darling boy did during his 90 minutes with me was doze and drool.

It was a happy reunion.

Edna Lee said...

Isn't it sad how many of us have had a "Lump" in our classroom? Mine was a fourth grader named Stevie and I had him last year. He threw chairs, cussed, and refused to follow directions. One day, he turned his desk over and dumped the contents on the floor, ripped everything to shreds(including textbooks), and then rolled around in the pile of destroyed stuff. All the principal could do was watch and wait for his mother to arrive.

Having him in my class taught me many things, but mostly the calming value of a nightly cocktail.

100 Farmers said...

How funny, I just got his brother Lumpster in my class today back from alternative school. He had moved while "Chillin'" and our neighbor school refused to take him back. Do you hear teachers celebrating? You know it's going to be interesting when his caseworker apologizes and wishes you the best. Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

Well, I had "Angel" for five years in high school (I teach an elective). She punched out a varsity cheerleader in English class because "the little voices" told her to. She came close to attacking a kid with a hammer (he was threatening me). She threw a desk at me once and I chewed her scurrilous butt out. I was her "safety" person.

This child was born crack addicted and was treated for psychoses (yes plural) We got her to graduate. It was a struggle, and I'll never forget her.

She needed parenting so badly and I think I was the closest thing to a mother that she ever had (she had 4 stepmothers in the 5 years she was my student).

It was hard but she DID graduate!

IMC Guy said...

We've had kids who have ignored the principal and teachers as well. Unfortunately, they found out that there was really no severe penalty. It's too bad someone coudn't really do something about it. We're in this touchy feely world about not laying the hammer down on some of these kids. Good luck with him the rest of the year.