Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Middle School Life

Today at a local middle school, I was accompanying the 8th grade class I'm observing to the computer lab. I was bringing up the rear (not just a shot at my... um... "shapely" ass) when one of the male students approached me with a science question. Below follows a rendition of our conversation:

Boy: Miss Taylor, [Is 30 too old to be called "Miss?" Whatever, I'll take it] I have a science question.

Melissa (a.k.a. Miss Taylor): Then you are probably asking the wrong person, but ask me anyway.

Boy: If you have two magnets and you swirl them around a coil of wire, can you create electricity?

Melissa: Science is not my cup of tea, but I have to tell you that you are probably not going to make electricity that way.

Boy: Oh, because I think you can. I'm going to make a taser at home like that.

Melissa: I don't think you are going to be successful with the method you described. But in the case that you are eventually successful, I hope you don't plan on bringing your experiment to school.

Boy: No, I'm not going to bring it to school. But, I'm going to make 3 of them. One for small problems, like if someone says something messed up to me. One will be for if someone tries to mess with my friends. The big one will be for if people try to push me around, I'll use that one on their eyelids.

At this point, I began to ignore him, I've noticed that this is the method most often employed by teachers when students start rambling about anything other than the topic at hand. This is an at-risk school and the kids are pretty much out of control as far as behavior goes, so the teachers have a tendency to ignore them when they are off task or topic because nothing seems to work as far as modification or redirection.

But I have to say that it bothered me. He was talking like he gets bullied, but as I was observing him amongst his classmates, he really blended in with them. I never had the chance to talk to my supervising teacher about it. I wonder what my responsibility is in a situation like that. It's not like it was a bomb threat, but I felt like ignoring him was the wrong thing to do.

It's not even 10 p.m. and I'm exhausted and sore. I'd like to take a hot bath, but I'd probably fall asleep and drown. All I can think about is these kids, their horrible behavior, and what would make a kid feel like he had to invent a homemade taser.

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