Today was one of those days where I was right about being wrong.
As the week drew to a close I had problems in all my first year junior high school classes. Yesterday’s was bad enough that they got homework. One student, who took one minute to move 15 feet to his desk, got double homework as a “delay of class” penalty.
This morning, though, was special.
My worst student, who was actually fairly good last class, has a bad case of wakarimasen dekimasen. If he doesn’t understand something, he feels he is entitled to free time. He didn’t understand the listening activity and put his head down on his desk, which I don’t allow. He even used his textbook as a pillow. When I tried to get him to sit up, he went full stubborn and kept his head down, which resulted in me puling his chair out from under him as I’d done in class before. He wrestled back spilling his desk.
He then stood up and gave me the finger. I laughed and he sat back down.
Eventually, his head went back down and I started bumping his desk to get him to sit up. He jumped up, picked up his desk and shoved it at me. At that point I threw him out of class.
Keep in mind, this is not technically legal, so I merely escorted him right outside the door and showed him where to stand, which was a place where he could still hear the lesson. He raged a bit, kicked the door a few times, sat down out of sight, and then stormed away (to the restroom it turned out).
At the end of class I went to see if he’d left anything behind and found his textbook torn up and scattered across the hallway.
A meeting with the homeroom teacher, the student, and a translator ensued. He’d mentioned the first part of the story, but left out 1) flipping the bird, 2) hitting me with a desk, and 3) me telling him where to stand when I put him in the hall.
(Note: the translator was there to protect me by 1) guaranteeing my point got across and 2) keeping secret how much Japanese I can actually understand. Long story.)
The meeting was interesting as he made a statement which the homeroom teacher wrote down. I made my statement via the translator (a fellow English teacher) and that was read to the student, who suddenly remembered parts of the story he’d forgot to mention.
By the end he’d claimed he didn’t understand what “flipping the bird” meant, although he couldn’t explain whey he’d done it. He claimed that even though his head was down he wasn’t sleeping so that made it okay. (I said it didn’t.) He also complained about my English Immersion style. I praised the times he was good and pointed out that he always rejected help, in Japanese no less, from fellow students. I also said that I wouldn’t punish him for today if he came back to class and started working.
Also by the end of the meeting, when he started getting good advice from the homeroom teacher, he went into pouty dramatic mode. He put his face in hands and leaned forward and whined. I pointed out to the translator that the student behaved exactly the same way in class when I tried to help him.
Eventually, I suspect, he’ll be moved down to the lower level class and become someone else’s problem.
Until then, I also need to take some positive news to the homeroom teacher. I may also have to take some sweets. And buy the translator a beer.