Raisins in the Air

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The first assignment that we do every semester is the following prompt:

“What do you want to do in the next five years, and how will you get there?”

The purpose is for me to get an idea of the types of goals and dreams that are in my classroom.  We take that information, and we make resumes for them to take to their “first step” towards that goal.  One student wrote that he used to be a superhero as a child, and he wanted to continue that and be a superhero as an adult.  He included that he would be part vigilante hero and part policeman.

This student was also one of the most disruptive kids in my class. However, my rule always was that if I’m laughing, I can’t write you a referral.  That sends a mixed message.  So, knowing that, the challenge was accepted by the students. Make her laugh, and you’re good.  She keeps a straight face, and you’re screwed.  It was a high stakes gamble.

The students were working on essays individually on computers, and I was wandering the class, I was much like a lion tamer with 30 lions, except the lions are students, and rather than teeth and claws, they have barely-monitored internet connections on laptops.
This student, who we will call RM (Raisin Man), had a habit of distracting his classmates spectacularly.  This day, he was typing away, and chomping down on some raisins.  He had about six of his classmates, staring at him as he recounted a story.
“Yeah.  Yeah, and I took the shot, and it was amazing.  AMAZING.”
I cleared my throat. “AHEM.  RM.  Have a seat please” (using my teacher voice)

I turned to continue in on my laptop supervision.  For a moment, I thought I felt something in my hair.
That’s weird I thought and shook my head to loosen whatever had fallen into my hair.

I kept moving, and again, I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I turned, but didn’t see anyone, but I DID hear muffled cackling from RM’s corner of the room.  I looked over and saw the students straining to keep their lips straight and staring WAY too hard at their computer screens.

“RM!  Excuse me.” They all looked up at me, innocent as can be.
“What?  I’m just doing my essay…”

I nodded slowly, still extremely suspicious.  As I turned back, I saw RM move, and felt something hit my shoulder.
I looked down and saw a small brown raisin on the ground.  I felt heat flush my face in fury.  This child is NOT throwing raisins at me.

I WILL DESTROY HIM.

I gave my best teacher glare.  I could see him making his choice.  He jumped up on his chair, and said,
“You’ve been hit by RAISIN MAN”
and threw another raisin at me.

I was an adult.  I sighed and glared, and made it through,

“RM.  You need to get off that chair, and stop throwing rais-“

That’s how far I made it.  Then, my newness to the job, and the absurdity of what was coming out of my mouth came down on me like a waterfall.  I collapsed in laughter.  I lost total control of my class that day.  It was not a “Teacher of the Year” moment.  Later, I took Raisin Man aside, and gave him a stern talking to, and food was not allowed in class for the rest of the semester.  It still is, however, one of the moments I look back on and smile.  Especially since Raisin Man has a resume, and he is going to college for criminal justice.


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