For most people, the end of a work week is cause for rejoicing. Friday marks the culmination of a frantic, stressful week, but the beginning of a relaxing, fun-filled weekend. This is no different for most public school teachers. However, for those intrepid souls who teach in public middle and high schools, the anticipation and joy of successfully reaching Friday is also mixed with trepidation and anxiety. Why? Fridays, particularly at the beginning and ending of the school year, mean one thing... fights.
For whatever reason, Fridays seem to be THE day for impromptu brawls to break out. Perhaps it has to do with the students' anticipation for two days without school, or anxiety of 2 full days with their families, or maybe they, like their teachers, they feel the need to let off steam and workout their stress. But, again, whatever the reason, Fridays seem to have more than their fair share of fights.
Yes, fights, plural. Fights in high school are like Lay's potato chips; you just can't stop at one. If a fight breaks out before the school day actually begins, watch out, as there will be a barrage of bashing happening all day. Those days, it is the teachers' job to simply maintain order, lockdown the classroom, and pray for the end of the day. Forget trying to actually "teach". I tend to use days like that to teach ethics, or conflict resolution. I mean, seriously, that is all the kids are going to be able to talk about and focus on, might as well use it to my advantage.
Student 1: Oooohhh, did you see Willie lay into that kid?
Student 2: Dude! He was tearin' that boy up! He was all like... (student jumps up and pantomimes pummeling invisible opponent.)
Student 1: Nah, man, it was more like this... (pantomimes a different version of pounding and punching on pretend patsy)
Student 2: And did you see when he kicked him? I was all like... (student laughs and falls out of chair... on purpose, to demonstrate his reaction to the fight.) I was ROLLIN'!
Student 3: Did you see when Mr. Security tried to tear Willie off that mutt? I thought [Mr.] Security was gonna get beat down too!
Student 1: Oh, oh, you mean when Willie turned and swung at [Mr.] Security? (hysterical laughing and twitching) AH! That junk was so funny! [Mr.] Security was all (pantomimes school security officer breaking up fight, and removing student.) I was weak.
Student 2: Why Willie go off like that? What that scrawny punk do?
Student 3: NOTHIN'! You know Willie ain't right...
Student 1: Dude, that boy be crazy! You 'member when he went off in Mr. Science's room?
And so the conversations go all day, recounting one fight after another, rehashing the same fight, or reminiscing about past fights between the combatants du jour. And, as the boys stated, no one ever really seems to know why the fights break out, or if there is a reason, it is usually pretty... lame.
(Actual reasons given for fighting)
I didn't like the way that girl be lookin' at me. So, I ask her what her problem is, and then I hit her.
She kept sayin' [boy's name], and she knows we be talkin' and stuff. She got no right to be sayin' his name. She just pickin'.
Don't nobody like that [kid] anyway. And I was mad, so I thought he'd do.
He looked like he was gonna hit me, so I snuck first.
Why you be buggin'? Somebody yelled 'fight', so I turned and started swingin'.
I ain't tryin' to go down like no punk. (Yeah, I don't know either.)
Yeah, things like this really happen. And, for all of you teachers who have been privileged enough to never teach these students, or work in a similar environment, or live with blinders on and your heads buried in the sand... Why don't you try opening your eyes, picking up your heads on occasion, and actually noticing what is happening in the school around you. But, I am digressing. I'll talk the clueless teachers in a later post.
Anyway, it is for these reasons, I have dubbed Fridays in the 1st and 4th marking periods and right before a holiday or break to be... Frivolous Fight Fridays.
Of course, Frivolous Fight Friday is not to be confused with Thug Thumping Thursdays, Wuss Whooping Wednesdays, Teen Tussling Tuesdays, or Mob Melee Mondays. But, those are different stories for different days.
And, so far... it is 10:45AM, and no fight. This might be a good day.