Monday, January 26, 2009

How was your day?

You: So Liz, how was your day today?

Me: Pretty good. I tried to stop three different fights at school today.

You: What?

Me: Well, you know. The usual. I return to my classroom after lunch and I hear some girl holler to her friend. 'Come on, let's go, they are about to get in a fight.' So I put down my stuff, tell my one student present to grab a book and start reading and I head down the stairs to the cafeteria (literally 20 feet from my classroom.) There I find about 75 kids all standing around and one Assistant Principal with his megaphone trying to get them to go to class.

I see that the kids are vacating the cafeteria and headed to my floor, where I am certain they will continue to fight. So I cut them off and run back to my classroom to guard the entrance. So now, it's me, the Assistant Principal, two security guards and two other teachers from my floor trying to get 120 kids to their classes. The security guard is taking one girl away. I assume she is the one who was fighting.

You: So you didn't actually see the fight?

Me: No, I always stand outside of the circle and try to get the kids on the outer side of the fight to go to class. Usually they are good kids, mostly 9th graders, just caught up in the action. Some of them listen, but most of them don't.

You: Are there lots of fights at your school?

Me: Everyday, same place, same time. After lunch, on the 3rd floor, my floor.

You: You'd think they could control that.

Me: You would wouldn't you. But mostly they just move the kids from one part of the school to another, continuing the same fight. For example. After I finally thought this was resolved I went to class to teach my one student who had shown up. But after only a couple minutes of talking with Javon I hear a lot of commotion on the other side of the 3rd floor. So once again I go to try and stop the crowd from gathering. But by now there are about 150 kids sprawled out in an open area, and again, the one Assistant Principal and maybe two security guards. So I go do my job, try to clear the halls and let the Security guards break up the fight.

Finally it looks like there is an end to the madness, a security guard is taking Shannone down the stairs with her face covered. But then I realize, these stupid kids still want to follow Shannone around the school. I'm sure they'll try to egg her into another fight, but I like Shannone and I just want them to leave her alone. So I make a mad dash to the door and throw myself into this crowd of kids, trying to push at least 30 of the back. By now I am thinking this is so against everything I normally do, I do not let myself get in the middle of these fights. But I just can't take it anymore. Someone has to stop these kids from just taking this fight back down into the cafeteria. Meanwhile, the kids who are almost pushing me down the stairs are apologizing "Sorry Szilagyi. Sorry. Sorry, just have to get by." NO YOU DON'T! Finally there is a break in the crowd and I am able to throw the doors shut. It isn't long though before one of them comes smacking me in the back of the head. "Sorry Szilagyi, gotta go downstairs." They kill me, so polite.

It takes another five or so minutes for Mr. Brown (the Assistant Principal) and I to get all these kids to go to their classes. It's just like, what do you do? There's almost 100 of them and only two of you, plus his megaphone.

As I walk back to my class I massage my wrist, and think to myself, 'when I interview at Virginia schools this Spring and they ask why I want to leave DC schools, I'll reply . . . "holding back a crowd of 75 rushing kids isn't in the daily job description I desire."


Shilo said...

Sounds like pure torture for everyone involved! I cannot believe it!

Carroll's said...

wow Liz! You'll have such good stories to tell your kids :O)

HDunkley said...

Oh my gosh, Liz! I can't even imagine that!!! I would be so scared and running in the other direction! Ha ha! Yes, the other boleyn girl is good, but it has some graphic parts, so watch out. (I didn't know that when I bought it!)

Lydia said...

Liz, you are amazing. I love that the were "polite." That cracks me up.

Heidi said...

First off, love the new background! That story cracks me up! (Is that an appropriate response?!) Really, the irony is too funny. The fact that they felt it was okay to apologize and then keep moving on...seriously, people?! In all seriousness, really, it makes me so sad to think that those kids aren't really getting anything out of education - even with amazing teachers like yourself. Good luck interviewing in Virginia!

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