Because She's Chinese

I wrote this during an off period yesterday at work. I was extremely bored so this post is lengthy. I don't have time to edit as I am cleaning late into the night...

Student A: Where are you from? Ain't you from Houston?
Me: No, I'm from California.
Student B: What race are you?
Me: I'm Chinese.
Student B: See? I told you!

Student C was asked to toss her gum at the beginning of the period. Half an hour later, I caught her chewing gum again. I'm not sure if it was the same piece of gum and she had just pretended to get up and toss it or if it was a fresh piece. I told her to throw it away again.

Student C: Why don't you let us chew gum in class?
Me: Because it's school policy. No food or drinks in class.
Student D: All the other teachers don't care if we chew gum.
Me: That's because they're sick and tired of telling you to spit out your gum so they ignore it.
Student C (under her breath): It's because she's Chinese.
Me: Did you just say that I don't let you chew gum because I'm Chinese?
Student C (sheepishly): No.

I let it go. What I should have said was:

Me: Did you just say that I don't let you chew gum because I'm Chinese?
Student C (sheepishly): No.
Me: Oh, well I'm glad I misheard you because that would have been an incredibly ignorant comment.

Student C was visibly upset when I told her I would be their sub for tomorrow as well. I don't let them get away with shit that their teachers have given up caring about.

By the end of the first period, I had collected three cell phones and one iPod. Students are always absolutely shocked when I catch them with their cell phones out. It's become a game for me. When I first started subbing, I would just ask them to put it away. Now, I have to physically confiscate them because a warning isn't enough. They will just attempt to hide it another way.

For example, yesterday I didn't feel like getting out of my seat to grab a cell phone so I just asked a student to put it away. She put it in her pocket, got out of her seat, sat behind a bigger guy, and tried to get on her phone that way. I immediately caught her and she was pissed.

Taking their cell phones and returning them at the end of class is a nice gesture, in my opinion. I don't write them up and I don't turn them in to the office. As long as they hand it to me willingly and they behave for the rest of the period, they get their phones back. Easy. Except 50% of the time they argue with me.

This morning, I caught a boy with his phone out. It is so obvious when they are using their cell phones. I only get so upset about cell phones because they think they are smarter than me and I want to prove that they aren't. We actually made eye contact when he realized I had caught him. I walked over to grab it from him, but instead he tried to play it off as if he didn't have a phone at all.

Student D: My mama don't let me have cell phones.
Me: I saw it. Hand it over.
Student D: I don't have a cell phone. I really don't. My mama don't let me.
Me: Really? We're going to do this? Turn out your pockets.
Student D: I don't have a phone!
Me: Yes, you do. Hand it over and you'll get it at the end of class. If you keep arguing I'll write you up.
Student D: You mean this thing? (Hands me a cell phone.) It's not a cell phone. It's a smart phone.

The absolute disrespect of some of these students still continues to astonish me. I don't know where they learned this bad behavior, but it is unacceptable. I honestly don't know how I have resisted cussing them out by now.

“You think this shit is going to work later on in your life? You keep pulling these stunts and behave this way and you will get nowhere in life. You're going to end up in jail or on the streets and I'm going to walk past you and not give a fuck because you deserved this. Good luck to you because you're going to need it. I feel bad for yo mama.”

“Yo mama” seems appropriate.

That's what I would love to say to them. Except I can't because I'll get fired. They wouldn't take me seriously, anyway. One of my proudest moments was when I said to a student, “Get out of my classroom, Oscar. I'm sick of you disrupting my class. Get out.” He came crawling back to me after the period ended and begged me not to write his name down for the teacher. I told him I already did and explained why. He was not happy, but at least he understood my reasoning and admitted that he was at fault.

My classes yesterday had an extra credit assignment due at the end of the period. It was just a maze so it should have been a fun assignment. Instead, I caught four students cheating. Cheating for extra credit! If I had been caught cheating, I think I would have felt extremely embarrassed. These kids didn't have the same mindset and instead became very angry with me.

One rude girl continued copying another boy's work even while I was standing right in front of her as if she was doing nothing wrong. I told her she might as well hand both papers in as neither one of them was going to get any credit. As a final act of defiance, she tossed the blue highlighter she borrowed on the floor instead of turning it in to me. Such class, huh?

I would like to only blame the parents of the students, but the teachers are also responsible. They are the ones who don't follow the school policies and allow the kids to use their phones and mp3 players in class. I've seen it in person. They need to establish a controlled classroom instead of attempting to get their attention only when they need it or resort to speaking over them. I know that this is easier said than done. There has only been one teacher I subbed for that I could obviously see had a well disciplined classroom. I approached him another day and let him know this. I told him I would be more than happy to watch his classes again.

The problem with disciplining these students is that they have very little fear. I had to send a student to the Assistant Principal because he refused to stay awake in class. I told him I would be checking with the AP office to see if he actually went and he boldly responded with, “I ain't going anyway.” I had to ask another adult to escort him.

The word “ain't” makes me want to barf. I think the only way the word should be used is for humorous reasons or for the sentence, “I ain't playin' wit chu.”

This is what I deal with every day at work. I don't remember the last time I had a truly good day at work, yet I still want to do it. The few students who tell me, “Have a good day,” before they leave the classroom or thank me when I hand them an assignment is enough for me.  


Rebecca said…
Reading these makes me never want to have kids. Ever.

On another note, I haven't talked to you in WAY too long. :(