Thursday, May 03, 2007


There is a sophomore in my last period class that I can hardly stand.

His name is Eric. He is a terror. The difference in the classroom between when he is there and when he is away is incredible. Eric is the kind of kid that can walk in to a relatively calm classroom and in ten minutes have all the kids screaming and jumping on top of desks. He has constant energy and it always seems to be charged in to something negative. Sometimes I will think "wow, why is this class being so good today?" and then realize that it is because Eric isn't there.

Today Eric and I got in to it. I asked him to come to the computer lab. He said no. I asked him again and he jumped in my face and screamed "NO!". I put my hand on his back to guide him out the door and he knocked my hand away. "Don't touch me!" he said "I'm not your child." I felt weak. I sent him out of the room. "Get out, Eric." I said "What'd I do? I didn't do nothing!" He yelled. I didn't know what to say. What did he do? I guess I didn't really know. He was disrespecting me. Was it enough to kick him out? I didn't know, but I didn't feel strong enough to do anything else.

"Man I don't care if you do kick me out. I'm about to go to my baseball game anyway" Eric said. "Well you aren't going to be on the team for long if you keep behaving like this and failing classes" I told him. "On my momma I will" He said "They won't never kick me off of that team"

I couldn't argue with him. When baseball season started the coach told me they had to get a bunch of forms signed from the board of education stating that students with failing grades could still play on the team. "We have so many kids failing at this school" the coach said "I don't know what we'd do if they couldn't play"

After school today I spoke with the coach. I told him what Eric said and I told him about his behavior in my class. "Would you kick him out if you had to?" I asked him. "Oh yeah," he said "I already took Deonte off the team for grades and for discipline problems. I can take Eric off too" "Is he any good?" I asked. "He's my best player" he said.

The coach told me to tell him if anything else happened. He said he would talk to Eric and tell him that if this keeps up he'll be off the team. I was scared all of a sudden. Maybe taking Eric off the team isn't a good solution. Where else would he go after school? On the streets? He wouldn't feel good about himself, that's for sure. He probably wouldn't be inspired to do better. He would just be angry. He might get worse. But is it better to let him stay on? With failing grades and a bad attitude?

I don't know.


Blogger Micah said...

Hey, man, it's not like you asked for my personal advice, but humanity is like that, full of brilliant and contradictory solutions to other people's problems.

At one level, it seems that Eric has one real interest, baseball. Killing the interest isn't entirely useful, but it might be useful to get him to try to integrate his life. Suspend him for a game or two?

At another level, the lack of interest hardly excuses the behavior. "Well-adjusted" folks stumble through so many things they find dull. Finding the origin of that problem... that's a mess. And fixing it... probably out of your hands.

Good luck.

8:07 AM  

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