Apparently, I'm not bringing out the best in people...WARNING: FOUL LANGUAGE AHEAD. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!
Usually, I have a great rapport with my students. Recently though, there's either something in the water, or a lot of bad stuff went down over Spring Break, but two days in a row, I have been called horrible names by students, prompting their suspension.
MONDAY: Last period of the day. Some students are more talkative than normal, but it is the first day back, so I don't think much of it. Another student we'll call Jimmy sits two rows behind everyone else.
As we go over the assignment I had given, I ask Jimmy if he has the answer to a problem. "Yeah," he replies. "Okay, you're up, tell me how I solve for x," I say.
He stares at me. Usually when a student doesn't want to give an answer, he'll say "I don't know" or tell me specifically that he doesn't want to answer. More often than not, I'll let them off the hook and come back to them when I know they can answer a question...I'm all for letting people look smart in front of their peers, not stupid. This student, however, just remains completely silent.
I wait for him to say something, anything. After about fifteen seconds, I say "Ooookay, I'll let you off the hook this time, but could you move up a couple rows to join the rest of the class? You're kinda all out an island over there."
He looks over his shoulder. "I'm not in the last row." (My class policy is that the back row always remain open because I never have enough students to need the back row, and there's no reason to use it.)
"My instruction was to move forward," I say calmly. "Please do so."
"I'm not fucking moving forward, you FUCKING BITCH!"
I'm dumbfounded. "Okay. You can go to the office."
"Yeah, you're talking big now, aren't you?" he replies. I have no idea what he's talking about.
He gathers his stuff, and as he walks out of the room, he proceeds to kick the living hell out of my garbage can before exiting. Let's just say it will never be quite round again.
I have a student...let's call him Timmy. Timmy does not have the ability to tell when playtime starts and work time begins. He will call me "dork" as if that were completely appropriate to say to a teacher. Lots of these students have two relationships: their friends and their enemies. They do not know how to handle teachers, who are not supposed to exist in either category.
At the beginning of class I explain "Okay, I asked people to finish *at least* to problem 6 by today. I want everyone to finish all twelve problems today. If you did not finish the first, please finish those first and move on to the rest."
I walk around the room, checking people's progress and helping them with their questions. About five minutes go by and I see Timmy has not done a single problem. "Where's your assignment?" I ask.
"You said that if we didn't the first six yesterday, then we do those and then we move on to the rest. I did finish the first six."
"So I don't have to do the rest."
Now realize this student is by FAR not my lowest student...when he applies himself, he's one of the brighter. He knows exactly what I meant, but if a student thinks he's going to win a battle of logic with me, he's obviously deluded.
"Look," I say. "I'm not going to play games with you today. You know what I meant."
"Hey I'm just doing what you said."
"Don't interrupt me. You do this every day, and I'm not going to play games. You can either take the paper out and work on it, or you can go to the office."
"Don't yell at me." (I was being stern, but I wasn't yelling).
Another few minutes go by as I make another trip round the classroom helping people. I reach Timmy again. "Okay. You haven't done a problem yet."
"I don't have a pencil."
"I said I was done playing games. You could easily have asked me for a pencil 10 minutes ago. Please go to the office."
He gets up. "Prick!" he says. The other students laugh nervously. "What? He knows he's a prick." He looks at me again. "And you can suck my DICK, motherfucker!"
The funny thing about these incidents is that when a student just loses his cool like this, even my worst students have my back. Here are some comments I heard from other students.
"Hey, Mr. H, just so you know, you're not a prick."
"Why do you work here? If it were me, I'd be throwing calculators at kids all day."
"You know, I think he just wanted to get suspended. You were just in his line of fire. You shouldn't take it personally."
To which I replied with a smile: "If I took every bad thing a student did in my class personally, I'd never get out of bed!"
Moral of the story: The bad apples make some workdays hard, but the good ones make it all worth it.