The title is All Girl Class II, however this the third in my sub-series relating to my teaching an all-girl eighth-grade English class. Again and yet again, at the expense of making a repeated, recurring statement, as I said two or three times before1Bumping up the word count once more for no specific reason., that experience led to my believing eighth grade girls very are much like seventh graders, ninth graders, or just in between.
It wasn’t very long into the quarter when I was approached during the middle of a lesson. The girl said, “Mr. B., it’s my time. May I be excused to the restroom? And may, … go with me? She has what I need in her locker.”
I gave permission. Then, less than two weeks later, near the end of the class, the same girl approached me with the same request. I knew irregularity wasn’t uncommon for the age and granted the request. And I allowed her companion of choice permission to leave also. I didn’t put two and two together when I learned someone had been smoking in the girls’ restroom during the time they were gone.
Within weeks, it seemed to me that most of the girls assumed or thought they had a way out of the class taught by a naïve male teacher.2Well it wasn’t most, but it seemed to me at the time. Wrong on their part – but I’d not found a way to stop their escape attempts. I’d checked with administration and the school nurse, but was told not allowing was my judgement call, but I should start a coded register of who and when in my grade book.
I gave the documentation plan a month and when the most usual requester made her second of the ensuing month, I gave her a pass to the nurse’s office with the comment loud enough for the few nearby to hear. Trying to not be harsh or sarcastic, I said something like, “I’ve been married for 19 years, was raised with sisters, and have a daughter your age. I’m concerned that you may have a serious medical problem and should see the nurse. She can make a preliminary determination.” I added, “Don’t forget to have her sign the pass to get you back into class.”
Each time I got the request after that, I simply handed the requester a pass to see the nurse. Word got around quickly. Another problem solved.
Perceptions of the Principal – I
Arlie in kindergarten:
The principal is the person you have to see in the office when you kick Allison at recess. She didn’t listen to my side.
Perceptions of the Principal – II
Allison in kindergarten:
The principal is the person my mother called when I said Arlie kicked me at recess. I pulled Arlie’s hair first, but I didn’t tell Mom or the principal.