All Girl Class III


blog post
The title is All Girl Class III, making it rather obvious that this the fourth, if you remember to count All Girl Class 0, in my sub-series relating to my teaching an all-girl eighth-grade English class. Again, at the expense of making a repeated, recurring statement, as I said two or three times before1Bumping up the word count still again 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.
The actual event didn’t happen in class, but the announcement of it did.


Part of the time I was teaching at the junior high school, I was in the police reserves. I was involved in several school and student related issues as a reserve, but only one manifested in my all girl classroom.

I was trained and had a full commission, so during the summer of 1978 I did vacation coverage for full time officers. Most of my time was on traffic enforcement patrol. One of my first stops for failure to stop at a controlled intersection was a woman who blew a stop sign at speed limit. She admitted the infraction and was courteous in taking the citation. Her story was – distraction by the chatter of four girl passengers. Bet you can guess where this is going!

Soon after the all-girl class was formed and a girl asked something like, “Mr. Benson, are you allowed to pack at school2I did have a concealed firearm at school two times, but that’s a different story and not fitting for here.. How can a teacher be a cop too? Do you know that Mrs. … keeps a loaded pistol in her car?”

I was taken back and was in hesitation mode looking for words to explain the law of that time on packing and my role as a reserve.

She spoke again before I had the words, ”You’re the one who arrested my mother last summer aren’t you?”

English lessons for that day were severely truncated.


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.
Perceptions of the Principal – III
Arlie’s mother Amanda:
The principal is the person who called me at work when Arlie allegedly kicked another student. My boss was ticked when she had to give me the message. I’m texting Ashley!
Perceptions of the Principal – IV
Allison’s mother Ashley:
The principal is the person who wouldn’t confirm it was Arlie who Allison said kicked her. I’m texting Amanda!


 

All Girl Class II


blog post
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.

All Girl Class I


blog post
The title is “All Girl Class I,” but this the second in my sub-series relating to my teaching an all-girl eighth-grade English class. At the expense of making a repeated, recurring statement, as I said before1Bumping up the word count 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.


During my teaching years, I had three sets of identical twins in my classes2I had mirror twin boys in a math class. Two sets were in the all-girl class. One of the pairs had a nature to confuse others. The other set pointed out their differences on one of the first days of class. The set who gave me the ID clues nearly always had the same grades, but the pair other didn’t.

I disregarded the antics of the ‘fool ya’ pair and got to know the subtle differences in their behaviors, but I let them play their game for a while. I’m sure some students knew they were involved in the guess if you can episodes when they traded places in the seating chart. Initially, I wasn’t sure which was the better student because one time one would get the better score, then it was often the other.

If drama had been part of the curriculum, each of them would have been an A student. The year before, one was busted for smoking and they split the suspension time.

To get them to admit which they were, I averaged their grades for several assignments. Finally, the one who really got better quiz and in class assignment scores protested. And the problem, for me at least, was solved.


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