There’s nothing like starting the day off with a little stress… My Algebra class was clipping along at its usual pace. We corrected homework, started learning about slope. Rise over run. They get it… Time for homework.
One of my kids had a navy blue bandanna hanging around his neck, but underneath his sweatshirt. I saw it. I was going to be discreet about reporting it to the appropriate assistant principal to deal with it. Well… One of my other students, who had previously gotten in trouble for a similar situation intervened. In an effort to
be helpful set him straight, the student walked over to the other and said something about not showing gang colors and getting rid of the bandanna. He probably pointed to the bandanna and touched it while he said it. Maybe he even flicked it.
I am busy trying to help other kids and print out grade sheets and do my normal crowd control, talking with my new student, finding out one was leaving, helping answer questions, etc. Then the thing that I hate happens.
Boys are different than girls. There’s a whole bunch of posturing before they actually fight. They’re like birds. Their chests are puffed out. Their feathers and all the plumage are in full display. They’re standing close. Staring. Waiting for the other to flinch. Just waiting for that right moment to strike.
These boys are actually not a couple that I’d expect to get into it. One is a sort of happy-go-lucky kid (#1). The other (#2) has already had a stint in jail and has been keeping on the straight and narrow. So at first I wasn’t sure if they were actually serious. There’s something about all of this experience, where you can tell when it’s serious and when it’s not. I hate it when they do this.
My first instinct is to get them separated. Yes, little me, raises my arm and puts it down like a railroad crossing arm in between them, in turn, putting myself in the middle. I didn’t care who went out in the hallway. I just wanted them apart. This worked. I got one in the hallway and started talking. But then, the next thing I know, the other (#2) comes out there too! I then told him to go back and get his stuff while I take the other one to the office behind my room to keep him locked up, so to speak. I get boy #2 to go to his assistant principal to explain the situation. After he had cleared the hallway, I had another teacher walk the other one to the office making sure she took a route that didn’t pass the office of where boy #2 would be.
They both were dismissed for the day. They have to come back with a parent and have a little mediation session between them. I’m kind of hoping that they parents aren’t early risers and these kids don’t make it in until after 1st hour tomorrow. That’s probably really wishful thinking on my part.
I haven’t had a fight happen in my room for several years. Do I have a sixth sense for when a situation will escalate to that point? I don’t know. But I can definitely feel it when it’s coming. But then again, if you just look for the signs of wildlife, you can have a pretty good clue.