Thursday, April 23, 2009

Crime & Punishment

We had a flood at school recently. It was caused by an eight-year-old who's dang lucky he'll see his ninth birthday because I almost killed him when I caught him red-handed, purposefully overflowing the boys' bathroom. Again.

That is the second time to-date I've sworn at a child.

Walking down the hall, another teacher and I noticed water all over the floor with no apparent source. I solemnly whispered, "Perhaps we have a basilisk." (Lady didn't even laugh. I'm so sick of associating with people who've discarded juvenile fantasies.)

I trailed the water to the source and found my little friend MacGyvering the toilet to continually run water without emptying the bowl. It was a pretty clever jerry-rig and I would've given the kid props on the whole contraption if it wasn't, ya know, destruction of school property and a serious offense and what the h were you thinking, kid?

Also, if you've ever wondered if I can strike fear into the hearts of children with a single glance and pretty much scare the ever-loving shiz out of them, turns out yes! Resoundingly so.

When I grabbed his shoulder and spun him around to face my gritted teeth and steely glare, I saw it: the sheer, unabashed terror of a trapped animal.

"Mr. ****," I hissed softly, "Get down to my office right now and if you're not there in exactly thirty seconds I'm coming after you and, I promise you, that will. not. be. pretty."

Off he ran, leaving his sphincters behind.

Chuckling, I turned to the other teacher and said, "Will you go find the janitor? I need to go yell at a kid now."

And a yelling it was. I’m usually the kindhearted and compassionate teacher. I give hugs and cuddles and tenderly kiss their owies and, when they misbehave, we talk about our feelings and together make a deal to do better next time. Yes, it’s all very rainbows and cupcakes. But this kid flooded the freaking bathroom and his scolding will go down in the annals of history, I swear.

I passed the kid on the stairs the next day and recognized the wave of dread wash over his face as he saw me but I winked at him as I walked by and said, "What's up, bud?" and he grinned so we're still friends.

Got to keep up my reputation as a pushover somehow. But I have been practicing my scary teacher looks in the mirror. They're a pretty handy tool to have.


Lauren said...

That's a good story. I would really like to see that "mean" face.

Anonymous said...

I always have a team teacher, so we usually do a 'good-cop, bad-cop' routine. I get to be the bad cop, and I love it. First of all, I'm huge, and foreign, and obviously insane. I scare students I'm being friendly to. Within about a day of starting to teach I had made a zero-tolerance policy. Korean teachers use vestigial physical punishments - running laps, deep knee bends, cleaning assignments, the like - to humiliate and torment students. I go straight for demerits, something Korean teachers only use for habitual troublemakers, and putting the fear of God into them.

We have these yellow cards. Students know what they mean. Problem students are invited to my office, where we discuss why their behavior is a problem. I keep one of these cards on my desk. I don't use it, I don't mention it, I just play with it. I stroke it like a cat. I look at it, then look at my student, and give my most evil grin, polished by years of gamemastering.

I've not had a repeat offender so far.

But, as I said to one of my fellow teachers, "I'm getting kind of tired of just threatening. I want to cause some real pain!"