Lunch Club

September 11, 2009 at 2:44 pm Leave a comment

The two boys sat there and wasted time in class last week, time that was sufficient to finish the assignment. They already have failing grades due to missing work – three weeks into the school year. I told them that they’d better get it done as homework, that they’d better be ready to turn it in, or that they’d be spending lunch with me on Friday.

When they walked in to class today, I asked them. Sure enough, no homework – just abashed grins and dumb excuses.

“I guess I’ll be seeing you at lunch, huh, Mrs. Bees.”

“Yep.” I handed them lunch passes, already filled out. “You’ve got five minutes to get your lunch and bring it up here.”

There are ten minutes left in lunch when they come in, laughing and jostling each other. I ask what took them so long, and they acknowledge that they forgot to come up. (I’d call bull, but at least one is severely ADHD and probably has the capacity to be holding a reminder note and STILL forget about lunch detention five minutes after being assigned it.) They look genuinely sorry, and hand me a drink they brought me. I ask if they spit in it first, and they think that’s awful – and awfully funny. I trust them.

“You’ve got ten minutes, guys. You need to get to work.”

Nine minutes later, despite my every-minute warnings, they’ve accomplished the following:

  • one book open
  • a name on a sheet of paper
  • eight minutes of stupid jokes

I’m cool as I tell them that I’m going to be talking to their parents. Boy 1 tells me – not seriously, thank goodness – that I’m putting him in a body bag. I advise him that it wasn’t my decision to waste an entire week, including the final chance during lunch, to do a four-problem assignment.

“I expect better of you guys,” I say as they stand to leave.

“Okay, Mrs. Bees.”

“No, seriously. I do. You know why?”

Eye-roll, grin, then in mocking voice, “Because you believe in us.”

“Actually,” I reply, “I wasn’t going to be quite that cheesy. I’m not going to say that I believe in you, because one thing I believe in is our infinite ability to screw up our own lives.”

“Oh my gosh,” they laugh.

“I’ve always got some teacher saying, ‘I believe in you,'” Boy 2 says, rolling his eyes. “I hate that.”

“I hate it when they say that,” agrees Boy 1. 

“I hate it that you know it’s cheesy,” adds Boy 2, to me, laughing. 

I go on. “What I was going to say, is that I know you can do better than this. You have to.”

“Dude,” says one of the boys as they head for the door. “I hate that you know that.”

Me? I hate that you don’t even try… and that you’re building the kind of habit that is going to absolutely hogtie you in college or the workplace or your day-to-day life. But I love that you laugh and bring me a drink to apologize for forgetting to come in. You’re good kids, but you’ve got a ways to go before you’ll be good men.



The Nice Thing About Teaching… Juniors

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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

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