I am currently in the process of drafting a couple of different posts at the moment. They are not yet ready to be published, though; they still need some polishing. However, I thought that in place of one of my stories, I would share a story from one of my colleagues. Well, I guess this is actually more of a hybrid story, as I was so impressed with it, that I have actually used the same tactic several times myself. In any case, mine, a colleague's, or a shared experience from many teachers... here it is... You are just not likable.
Every so often as a teacher, you encounter a student who is unbelievably rude, obtuse, and ungrateful, and it is very hard to find anything to like about the kid. Now, please keep in mind, no matter what impression this blog may give you, these instances are rare. Most teachers will tell you that they love their jobs, and can find something to like about most of their students. We have to be able to do this, otherwise we would never be able to convince ourselves to continue teaching. However, once in a blue moon, you get that one "special" kid who is a complete and utter ass. This was the case with one of my colleagues. Let's call him Mr. Unlucky.
According to Mr. Unlucky, one year he was saddled with this wretched female student. She was hateful, belligerent, rude, and cursed with a whopping sense of self-importance and undeserved entitlement. Every encounter with this child was cause for her to "go off up in here". Most teachers tried to avoid any kind of confrontation with her at all costs. Her peers avoided any type of contact or interaction with her. On days she was absent, suspended, or skipping, the class was actually productive. They could hold discussions without dissolving into screaming matches or threats. Students would actually volunteer and participate when she was not present. (Sadly, this is often the case in a classroom where it only takes one rotten student to ruin the entire class.)
So, in short, no one liked this girl. However, much to the relief of teachers and students alike, this girl was often absent from school, due to multiple, lengthy suspensions. You see, the unfortunate girl (let's call her 'Marsha', as I always disliked Marsha Brady) was often involved in fights during the school day, threatening people, and just in general being a pain in the ass. Marsha's repeated suspensions however, meant that Marsha frequently needed to retrieve and complete "make-up" work for her classes.
Now, Mr. Unlucky is one of the most organized teachers I know when it comes to issuing make-up work. He goes above and beyond to make sure that his students who request the work get everything that was missed. He is quite diligent. His one unbendable, unbreakable rule regarding make-up work is that you do not interrupt his classes to retrieve or submit said work. You must come before or after school, or during his planning period. Well, Marsha believed she was above the rules, beyond reproach, and entitled to what the hell she wanted when she wanted it.
So, as you can guess, Marsha, upon returning from yet another suspension, walks into Mr. Unlucky's classroom to turn in her make-up work. Mr. Unlucky was actually in the middle of teaching a lesson. Now, if you know anything at all about teenagers, you know that they have short attention spans, and get distracted easily. So, when Marsha pranced into the middle of Mr. Unlucky's room and loudly announces "Here, Mr. Unlucky, I gots my work. You want it?", it immediately threw the entire class off task.
Marsha: Here, Mr. Unlucky, I gots my work. You want it?
Mr. Unlucky: (with a look of pure exasperation) No. (He turns back to continue his lesson.)
Marsha: (loudly and with attitude) What you mean 'no'? I'm tryin' to give you my make-up work you said I had to do and have turned in today.
Mr. Unlucky: (blandly) Marsha, I've asked you not to interrupt my class. You can turn in the work after school. (Turns back to class)
Marsha: You ain't gonna take my work? I'm already here, why can't you just take it now? Besides, when I walked in it didn't look like you was doin' nothin'. You was just talkin' and they was just sittin' there.
Student in class: (disgusted) Why don't you just leave? You know you ain't supposed to interrupt Mr. Unlucky's class.
Marsha: (rolling eyes, sucking teeth, and looking in opposite direction of student) I know you ain't talkin' to me. Ain't nobody talkin' to you.
Mr. Unlucky: (flatly) Please leave. (Turns back to class again.)
Marsha: You gonna take my work, or I'ma gonna call my momma.
Mr. Unlucky continues his lecture to his class, ignoring Marsha and her posturing. The class begins snickering and laughing at Marsha. Marsha makes a loud exit from the class, exclaiming that "the whole school be whack" and that her "momma be comin' up here" to straighten out the teachers.
Fast-forward two hours later, the school day is over. Mr. Unlucky is sitting at his desk in his now empty room. Marsha walks in, huffing and puffing, and stops at Mr. Unlucky's desk.
Mr. Unlucky: (blandly) Yes, Marsha, what can I do for you?
Marsha: (loudly and angrily) You know why I be here.
Mr. Unlucky: (takes a breath) Marsha, let's try this again, without all the hostility this time.
Marsha: (rolls eyes, sucks teeth) Just take my work so I can get up outta here. (Thrusts crumpled stack of papers at Mr. Unlucky.)
Mr. Unlucky: Marsha, have you ever wondered why you seem to be the one that is always getting in trouble in class? Have you ever noticed that when you are in class, everyone is negative and sniping back and forth, and there is always a confrontation of some sort? Have you noticed that you are always involved in that confrontation?
Marsha: (sighs very loudly) Oooohhhh, these teachers here be buggin' and pickin' on me!
Mr. Unlucky: See, that is what I am talking about. How is it that every single teacher you have ever encountered has it out for you? Why are you the one always getting kicked out of every class? Why are you the one always getting into a fight? Why are you the one person the entire class turns against, and tells to shut up? Why are you the one people are always saying negative things to and about?
Marsha: People be having it out for me. I don't no nothin' to cause it.
Mr. Unlucky: (sadly shaking his head) No, Marsha, if you look back at every single situation I have described, the common thread, the common denominator there is you. YOU are the one causing the fights. YOU are the one disrupting the class...
Marsha: (interrupting) When do I be disrupting class?
Mr. Unlucky: You disrupted my class two hours ago when you walked in demanding I take your work. Then you got belligerent with me and the other students. (Marsha folds her arms and looks the other way.) Like I said, the common denominator here is YOU. You are the one causing all the fights, trouble, disruptions. If you were to step back and look at your life you would see that YOU are the cause of all of your problems. And you know why? Because people just don't like you, because you are not a likable person. Now, you can change that, and become a better person. But, as of right now, no, I do not like you and the class does not like you, because you are just not likable. Now, I'll take your make-up work, because you brought it me after school, as you were instructed. Have a nice day.