“Ain’t I pretty?”

Snippet of a conversation held with a 7th grade female student today:

Me — “Ethel*, why aren’t you doing your assignment?”
Ethel — “I don’t want to.”
Me — “You really need to get some paper out and do the work.”
Ethel — “Ain’t I pretty?”
Me — (dumbfounded) “That’ll only get you so far. Do the work.”

* Her name, of course, was not Ethel.

What the heck kind of response is, “Ain’t I pretty?” Never mind the grammar, what does how she looks have anything to do with whether or not she should be doing the work.

I think I’m being way too lenient with the kids. I had a teacher assistant in first hour today; somebody the kids know. First hour was very quiet. The assistant returned in sixth hour, and he was carrying the carbon copies to a stack of detentions he’d handed out in other classes during the day. I haven’t given anybody a detention. Came close. I was about to do it today when the assistant returned, but since things settled as soon as he walked in, I let it go.

Personally, I thought the assistant was too strict. However, he maintained order and the kids did their work. But it was almost a prison silence.

Tomorrow I start a five-day assignment at the same school. I suppose I’ll have to get a little meaner. That sucks. Some of the kids respond very well to a laid back attitude. Others … well, like Ethel, they might refuse to do the work, or they at least get out the paper, but do their best to disrupt the class constantly. I’ve been leaving it for them to explain to the regular teacher why everyone else got the work done and they didn’t. When I’m the teacher who’ll be with them again the next day, I guess I’ll have to crack down.

The classroom I was in today was right across from Alex’s locker. At one point he had three girls crowded around him, and all of them claimed to be his girlfriends. Later, he walked by with two other girls. That’s my boy!

The only writing news I have to report is that I’m making progress on a how-to piece to help authors and filmmakers promote Horror Day.

5 responses to ““Ain’t I pretty?””

  1. I’m reminded of the 70s novelty song, “The Streak”–“Ethel, you get your clothes on!” She’s destined to marry rich…

    1. hehehe Yeah. I recently downloaded that song for old time’s sake.
      This “Ethel” is a sweet girl, and it’s sad to see someone who is obviously bright just not apply herself at all. And with a room full of rowdy kids, it’s hard to take one aside and talk to her about it.

      1. I would imagine there is a sad aspect to teaching. DOyou watch THE WIRE? This season is all about the education system,a nd one of the cops, who got drummed off the force, is now a teacher. Great stuff.

  2. It sounds like we are going through very similar things.
    I struggle with how strict I should be with the kids all the time.
    Detentions are hard to give out if you are the sub.
    The reality is that some kids, if it were up to them, would never do work. You are forced, for their own good, to use detentions as a threat to get them to do something productive.

    1. “You are forced, for their own good, to use detentions as a threat to get them to do something productive.”
      That’s exactly how I decided I have to look at the matter.
      My biggest problem is that I’ve seen so many kids in so many classes at so many different schools that I haven’t been able to learn many names. If you can name them, you can control them at least a little better.

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