All Girl Class

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This sub-series relates my teaching an all-girl eighth-grade English class. That experience led to my believing eighth grade girls very are much like seventh graders, ninth graders, or just in between.

The growing of our junior high school designed for 600 increasing to 800 presented some problems. Shortly after everyone was settled in for the year, there was a serious need for class size reduction. For reasons unknown to me at the time, hiring more teachers was not an option1I did learn about school funding later.. One solution was to have teachers volunteer for an extra class, with pay of course. I had taught an extra math class the year before, so expecting a math class again, I put my name on the list. All extra math classes were taken. I’d not taught English, nor did I have college training in it. Needing the extra income I took the only class left.

’Real’ English teachers were asked to make recommendations and those students were transferred to my supplemental assignment. The all-girl class was a real adventure. A repeating freshman moved and was replaced by a seventh grader, about whom you’ll read later, at the start of second quarter. I knew several of the girls from my wood-shop class, one was from our church, and one was a former neighbor; but most of them I’d never seen nor heard of before.

But little did I know the collection that was picked to be foisted upon me had a group GPA of 1.0 on a scale of 4. Of the 23 students, excluding the two mentioned before, nine were graduated from the district high school. Some may have graduated elsewhere, but the student community was always in flux. To the best of my memory, I only saw three of them as adults. One became an English teacher in the same district, one filled a prescription for me, and another worked at the local public library.

I saw the latter when I was turning in a book. She told me about her baby, but added, “No! Mr. Gerund2Their ‘pet’ name for me., I got married a year before his being born.” I’m sure it was to let me know she was different from to several in the class who had babies without marriage.

I wish I’d taken notes so I could share more, but there are at least three stories to tell. As I draft, perhaps I’ll remember others.

At the end of the year the class GPA was the same as when they entered, but with one exception, all legitimately passed the class. On the last day, I was surprised by their gifting me an engraved bracelet with J.M.B. on the outside.

All Girl Class I will be posted next.

Of Slugs IV

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Again already – the slug series within the school series! Definition for slug used in the junior high school story here a heavy blow especially with the fist.
Like I said, the junior high school where these things happened won’t be mentioned1Those who know me probably know anyway. … and remember I said characters are composites, but incidents are true.

First period was about to start, students were milling around waiting for the bell, and I was readying my paperwork to take role. The bell rings for about 10 seconds – enough time for them to get into their places. One student, not usually late, burst through the open door. A boy I recognize from having been in my class the year before and should be at the high school grabs him from behind and shoves him to the floor.

I’m at the far side of the room so it takes me a bit of time to get to where the one shoved has stood up and starting to punch at the older boy. No punch lands before I get there and do an around the upper arms restraint from the back of the high school student. He wrestles free and grabs the boy from my class, but I got the grip again.

As I’m being bounced around by the larger than me boy, Paul from “Of Slugs III” calls the school office from the wall phone. Another student moves in to help me restrain the high school kid. He gets kicked.

Had this been a student to student fight, there would be yelling and cheering. I was too busy to realize that the boys in the room, except for the participants and the one trying to help me, were silent in wonderment or confusion about what was going on.

Even being restrained, the high schooler kept after his target, dragging me with him. He was a little over 6 ft. and probably 220 lbs. to my 5’8”, 170 lbs. I managed to get him into a corner, or he managed go get me there with my back to the wall.

The student from my class, nearly the size of the older boy, who was trying to help took a swing at the intruder, but the older boy ducked, and I got slugged.

Within seconds of the principal, assistant principal, and another teacher getting there, it was over. I never expected to get hit by a student and the student could say he slugged a teacher and didn’t get into trouble.

Later, I learned that the attacked student in my class had made the mistake of looking like his older brother who had asked the high school student’s girlfriend for a date.

The attacking boy was suspended for a week, about the same amount of time the burse on my jaw lasted.

There are two more school related slug stories. They will probably be posted next, but I advise you to not risk the farm on that.

From Iniquities of the Fathers: A story of Illusions and Deceptions: “Levi had never planned to join his father in the cemetery. He only intended to leave his rucksack and atlas, his past, his illusions, his shame, his guilt, and his nightmares on his father’s footstone.”

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