On Tuesday we had every one's favourite class! RE! I'm beginning to understand that the class that I teach for two hours on Wednesday is, in fact, a handful. And it's not just that I have no clue what I'm doing. (Not "just")
Last week we were learning "right" and "wrong" (For real? Really? That's the lesson plan?) The plan involved brainstorming things that you got complimented or rewarded for (Right) and things that you got in trouble for or shouldn't have done (Wrong) and then writing poems with the examples we brainstormed.
Writing down 'Right' went well enough, but in the same way that I forgot to tell the masters in the slave/masters exercise not to hit their slaves, this time I forgot to tell the class to tell me the things they got in trouble for- not show me. (Smack, whine, interrupt, etc. We actually had someone yanking on a new pupil's pig tails...classic.) (And also Wrong! Stop that!) They were kind of a mess there for a bit.
One of the girls had been particularly annoying. Getting in people's faces and personal space, talking while other's were trying to give answers and whatnot. I ended up giving her a negative house point and crouching down frequently so that I could look her in the eye when she was sitting on the floor. I told her that I thought she was a wonderful girl, but that her behaviour today was not appropriate. As I sent everyone else off to lunch I went back over to where she was still sitting and asked her if she was okay and if she wanted to go down to lunch with the rest of the class. She burst into tears and told me her head hurt. Figuring that something else was going on I asked her if she was sad? Angry? Disappointed? As many different emotion words as I could think of. It turned out that she and her sister had been having a big fight that morning and had been hitting each other. Eventually she was willing to be coaxed down to lunch and arrived in time for seconds of the pasta.
I can sometimes forget how complex an internal life these children have. One of the things that I really enjoy is reading their stories from English class- they're incredibly revealing. And probably I'm looking at this through the lens of having been a lonely and unhappy child, but it sure seems to me like there is a lot of pain at that age.