Saturday, February 10, 2007

Wiley Coyote

I have a student who is sneaky. EW loves to stir up trouble, but he flies under the radar because he wears a quiet, respectful-to-adults veneer. Other students tell me of atrocities performed by EW, but when I question him, he looks at me with innocent, innocuous eyes that make me feel bad for suspecting him in the first place. He has gotten away with countless misdemeanors over the two years I have taught him simply because proving he committed a crime is like pinning jello to the wall. Nothing sticks. He is the Road Runner to my foolish Wiley Coyote. However, unlike the hapless Coyote, I finally was able to catch EW for the first time this week.

A week ago I had created a wonderful overhead sheet that demonstrated different dialects. I used it with my first four classes, and they loved it and learned a great deal from it during a bellringer activity. At the beginning of fifth period, the overhead was on the projector. Two minutes later, it was gone. EW was one of only a couple students in the room, and my suspicions fell upon him immediately. I could not prove it however, so i simply put up a different bellringer and went on with my business.

This week, I again placed an overhead on the projector. I went into the hallway to talk to Ms. Wysopal, but this time I kept my eye on the overhead. Sure enough, right before the bell rang I saw EW snatch the overhead and crumple it up. I felt like Elliot Ness when he cornered John Dillinger. "Where are you going with that overhead?" I asked, confident even EW could not talk himself out of this one.

EW: "I was going to copy it into my notes."
Me, not buying it: "That's why i put it on the overhead, so everyone can see it."
EW: "But I can't see it from the back of the room."
Me, waffling a little: "You haven't had a problem with the other bellringers."
EW: "Yeah, i just haven't said anything about them."
Me: "Go sit down, E."

He put on a nice little show the rest of class, moving to the front of the room, raising his hand, and participating like never before. I know though, that he was purloining that overhead just to throw a monkey wrench into my teaching plans. He pulls these hi-jinks to entertain himself; sadly, literature and intensive test-prepation doesn't hold a candle to the creation of mayhem. In the end I did write EW up, because I cannot tolerate a student actively underming the educational process in my room. I understand EW's reasoning, and I even respect his guerrilla tactics and skills. I just hope that he learns to use his powers for good, say as a spy or undercover police officer, rather than as a grifter.


Blogger Jess Wysopal said...

Nice catch...

7:17 PM  

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