Being Ms. B

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 15 2012

In which there is the tale of three plan periods

As a member of the sixth grade team, I have the indubitable privilege of last hour plan periods.  Here are three from this week.


At the beginning of my plan period, I have the honor of spending the first 10 minutes chasing seventh graders from the hallway into their classrooms.  The only sixth grade class on that hallway is art, currently populated by one of my team’s advisories.  As I was walking past, our art teacher was preparing to escort the little darlings around the corner, to the sixth grade hallway computer lab.  One of my Most Precious ones was being his typically precious self.  In fact, he managed to be precious to three adults within three minutes.

So I pulled him out of line, said, “Mr. W., please loan me A,” and escorted him to my classroom.

I dialed all 6 or 7 numbers that I had for this kid, left a message for a grandparent, and just sat back and looked at him.  I delivered an (actually brief) sermon, summarizing his recent exploits in rudeness.  I informed him that there had been an unfortunate change in behavior (A formerly had his act together).  Then I waited.

A paced.

I waited some more.  I told him, “A, tell me something intelligent, and you can go to art.”

A decided he didn’t have anything intelligent to say.

“That’s cool,” I said, “I’ll wait.”

This detente finally ended 35 minutes later when I walked him to art and picked up the paper work to refer him up the ladder of people qualified to deal with children who don’t want to be dealt with.

Not a win.


This was the week of Christmas Crazy.  We actually might have had twenty fights between Monday and Friday.  So naturally, my own precious ones were embroiled in this nonsense.  One in particular happened during a plan period whilst I was walking from the teacher’s lounge to my classroom, carrying a “Peace on Earth” holiday card from a colleague.  Suddenly, a great ruckus erupted, and a clump of children came barreling down the stairs, one combatant restrained by another of his confreres.  I took over and grabbed Ultimate Fighter E, whose big crocodile tears started running down his face and my arm.

A coworker later told me that the irony of me holding a peace on earth card while breaking up fight number 10 of the day was somewhat tragically ironic.

I spent that plan sitting with E in the office while he wrote his statement.  Not really talking, but just sitting there.  Occasionally going on tissue runs.  Talking quietly about how we were going to fix this in the future, but also about Christmas and birthdays and all of that.



Friday during my plan period, I sat down at my computer and read my emails from TFA and my school district about Connecticut.  Then I read Google News, and just kind of stared disbelievingly at my computer until the bell rang.

There’s really nothing intelligent to say about that.


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    Teaching by the arch

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