03 March 2009


I normally give the kids at least 3 chances before I kick them out of class. John used up all three chances within the first minute of class. He refused to sit down, pushed all of the papers off another student’s desk, and then threw his notebook at me. I’m not sure what was going on with him, but when projectiles are thrown directly at me I lose my patience. I sent him outside. This was not a few minutes of time out to cool off and regroup; rather it was a full blown exile. I told him to take his desk, his book, and his assignment, and that he was not coming back into class.

Undeterred, John continued to interrupt my class from the hallway. He jiggled the doorknob, banged on my window, and shouted obscenities in Spanish. At this point assistance from an administrator might have been useful, but they were all busy filling out paperwork for Umbridge. The rest of the class miraculously ignored the hallway distraction and produced some remarkable work on the French Revolution. As I contemplated my options, the noise in the hallway suddenly stopped. Under normal circumstances this would have made me nervous. But, although I was somewhat curious about what had captured John’s attention, I was happy for the silence and didn’t investigate further.

A few minutes later a student sitting next to the door said “Miss, you’ve got mail.” Somewhat bewildered I walked over to see what he was talking about. I discovered that John had pushed a piece of paper under the door. I unfolded the paper and read the following message:

“Diary Entry: High school revolution camp
I got sent outside. Oh so cold. Everything seems lonely. I think I got frostbite on my toes, but I’ll be fine. I’m almost done with my assignment. All I got for survival is girl scout cookies, but they are almost gone. I have a camp fire which is almost out. I used my text book for the fire, and my seat for shelter. My days are now fading so I write to keep my fingers from freezing. My Mohawk broke off that’s how cold it is.”

Although I was highly entertained I did not rescind my order of exile. John was not invited back into class.

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