John Mc

This is a collection of my thoughts. Some of the thoughts that I once had, I no longer do. Some thoughts I have now I have never had. Yet none shal be discounted. This blog is soley for the enjoyment of the author and the readers. On occasion the views expressed are overly exagerated in order to prove a point. Also there may be a dirty word or thought in some of the posts. Grow up and take this for what it's worth - a blog that barely anyone will ever see.


Across The Desk

As most of you know, I teach college. For the most part, I teach adults who want to better themselves and their place in the world. Sometimes a child with an attitude slips into the mix. Such is the case of a girl named "Amy." I have changed her name to protect the innocent, namely, me. She is far from it.
Amy is the kind of girl who some found very attractive and thus, got everything handed to her. It was because of this that she felt that talking with her friends during class was appropriate behavior. When I would call them out on it, they would deny it. I would even remind them that they are in the front row and I can both see and hear them. They would then sulk and begin texting between each other.
Each time they aggravated me, I made mention of it to the higher-ups so that everything was documented should I ever need to lay down the law. At one point, management even recommended that the three be separated. I went back to class and told them that management wanted me to split them up. I told them that I wasn't going to do this because I knew that they enjoyed sitting next to each other. I played it as if I was on their side and it was us vs. management. This despite the fact that I am the one that brought up their behavior to management. And these students bought it for a while. They became more involved with the class and the assignments. Well, for a little while.
They slipped up again, but I didn't have the energy or desire to go through separating them. But, it was great to know that if it ever did get really bad, those over my head had my back. As you may have guessed, it did eventually get bad. It went from bad to worse really quickly.
One of the projects that we worked on as a class is a study of News Talk radio. Think of WLS or Rush Limbaugh for examples. As a class I had each of them select a controversial topic and take a side. Someone else in the class will select the other side.
These topics are controversial. They are heated. They cause great emotion. I encouraged them to express this. However, they must remain respectful of themselves, their opponent, the class and me. Should anyone in the class lose this respect, they will be docked points on this project.
Sure enough, while some students were giving their opening arguments, others were talking. I would make eye contact with the offender(s) and then make a fake mark in my book. I would later decide if the infraction was enough to dock them actual points. But, it scared the hell out of them and they thought twice before doing that again.
After just a few tandems, it was Amy's turn. She brought her typed research up to the desk that I had at the front of the class room. On opposite sides of the table sat two chairs for the debaters. She took the one on the class' right and Jasmine the one on the left. Jasmine didn't have anything typed. As a matter of fact, Jasmine didn't have anything with her.
This in light of me telling the entire class "Research the hell out of your side. Then do just as much research on the opposite side. Come to class with a one minute of typed opening statement. Then have the fact supporting your argument well documented." She must have missed that small portion of the assignment.
The two girls would be discussing gay marriage. Amy gave her opening statement. Jasmine gave hers. Then they began talking. Then arguing. This was fine. It is a part of the project. They weren't personally attacking each other.
Amy stopped mid-sentence and turned to me and asked "Why are we doin' this?" I paused from my notes to look up at her. "She don't even have any research. I did my part. Where is her papers?"
Jasmine then let us know that her research was that she had a cousin who was gay. Thus her research was in her heart. The class found this amusing. I told the two girls to continue. Amy stopped once again and looked at me. "I can't believe we are still doin' this! She didn't do any work before this!" I reminded Amy that it would be pretty easy to prove Jasmine wrong then. "Amy, you can use the research you gathered in order to shoot down what she says." Amy sucked it up and went at it again. She seemed a bit calmer at first, but then she burst like a pressure cooker.
Jasmine brought up some sort of "fact" of hers. Amy took a look at her and said "Where did you find that? Made-up land?" Jasmine got aggravated and Amy took advantage of that. Amy looked her dead in the eye and said "I'm better than you."
I couldn't believe that someone would have such a warped sense of self to say that to another human being's face. This was the last straw. Jasmine broke. She leaned forward and said "Don't make me come across this desk."
"You do it. I dare you. You come over here, me and my group are gonna mess your world up." Amy pointed at her obnoxious friends in the front row. They looked at each other as if to say "How the hell did we get involved with this crap?!" Their true colors really shined at that moment.
It was here that I started telling them that their presentation was over. They didn't hear me. I even got in between them by leaning over the desk and telling them that they were done. They leaned around me.
It is very rare that I become upset. I don't have a temper and don't usually let things get to me. This didn't quite upset me as much as I made it seem. But, I realized I could not allow this to escalate any more than it had, so I put on a bit of a show.
I threw their papers on the ground, slammed my hands down on the desk and shouted "YER DONE!"
They both paused and looked up at me. I stood up and shouted "YER DONE. GET BACK TO YOUR SEATS, YER DONE!"
They gathered up their papers and when they caught each other's eye, started shouting across the classroom to each other again! I couldn't believe it. They were each about to sit down when I shouted at them again. "YOU KNOW WHAT? I HAVE A BETTER IDEA - GET OUT." They looked at me very puzzled. "YOU HEARD ME. GET OUT. I'M DONE DEALING WITH BOTH OF YOU!"
Jasmine quickly gathered her things and headed out of the room. Amy took her time. She was about to say something to one of her pain-in-the-ass friends, but before she could get a word out I cut her off. "AMY, GET OUT. WHAT PART OF THAT IS DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND?"
She came up to me and said "But, I didn't start-" I cut her off again. "I don't care who started it. I don't care what you have to say. I'm sick of your attitude. I'm sick of your mouth. I'm sick of you. Get out of my class room. If you want to run your mouth, I have office hours after class for an hour and a half. Until then, shut up and get out."
The class was speechless. She even backed up a bit not expecting that out of me. She (literally) stomped out of the classroom and then all eyes fell on me. I knew that I needed to cut the tension otherwise things could ignite once again.
"MARCUS! SEAN!" Both students had the knee-jerk reaction to shout "HERE" I tried to hide my smile when I said "YOU'RE NEXT. GET UP HERE." I then turned to the rest of the class as they made their way up to the table and said "They will be discussing the legalization of marijuana. I'm assuming that this will be a MUCH more mellow conversation than the previous one." Everyone laughed and they began debating.
While I was evaluating them, I hear the door open behind me. You'll never guess who was entering the classroom. Amy walked up behind me and said "Excuse me. Mr. Mc?" (No, she used my real name, but I'm not about to publish it here! Remember? Have to protect the innocent!)
I turned to her and whispered "Can you not see that I'm busy evaluating other students? What part of shut up and leave don't you understand?" Meanwhile the students continued debating.
"I just need to know what the assignment is for Wednesday."
"Check your syllabus. Get out."
"I don't know where mine is."
"Then see me after class. You are bothering me and cheating the current students out of their time."
"Ok. Oh, and I thought you should know, Old Girl is talking to your boss."
She then stomped out again. This poor thing must have had unusually heavy feet.
For the remainder of the class I thought about what was going to happen when I went back to my office. I knew that my boss had heard from at least one of them, if not both of them. Would I be reprimanded for how I handled things?
I thought I did the right thing at the right time. I did everything in my power to hold back any cursing. I was so very tempted. So very tempted.
We closed up shop and I went to my boss' office. I asked him if he had heard of all the fireworks that occurred in my classroom. He asked me to close the door.
He looked at me and said "You had to deal with some really F-ed up bitches today, didn't ya?"
I was relieved that he had the same opinion of them as I did. He reminded me that they always had my back from day one and that they will continue to do so. If I was able to justify my actions, then I was cool.
I ran into Jasmine in the hall moments later. She saw me and then looked down at the ground. "Come here" I said to her. She slowly walked over.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Mc. I didn't mean to disrespect you or your classroom."
"Good. I appreciate hearing that. You know what happened in there? You lost it. She got to you. And you let her. You let her." "I know, Mr. Mc."
"You're better than that. You are much better than that."
"I know, Mr. Mc."
"Don't let that happen again. Do you hear me?" "I do, Mr. Mc. I'm sorry."
"Fine. I will see you on Wednesday."
Amy was no where to be found until Wednesday. It was shortly before class that I saw her in the hallway.
She came up to me and said "Mr. Mc., I want to apologize for what happened in the last class. But, it wasn't my fault. I didn't start it."
"Thanks, Amy for your attempt at an apology." No true apology has a "but" in it. "Irregardless of whether or not you started it, you escalated it. That is why you are getting a 0 out of 100 points on this project. There is only 700 points total for the class."
"What? I got a zero after all the work I did? She didn't do any of her work and I'm the one that got a zero?!"
"You nearly started a fight in my class. Do you honestly feel that I should give you points for that?" "You mean that if I started something with someone we would both get in trouble?" "If they behaved like an irresponsible child and fed into it, then, yes."
She looked at me, snorted and went into the classroom.
She didn't end up passing my class. Although, her "friends" put forth more effort (and didn't start any fights in my class) and passed. It looks like it will just be me and her next semester. I can't wait.

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