Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Dangerous(ly Lame) Minds
The mind of a junior high school student is an amazing thing. If I had money, I'd sponsor some sort of work on the subject, perhaps a ten-year clinical study in which junior high schoolers could be held in captivity or maybe something more CSI-ish, in which the scientists would dissect a few junior high school minds and find out what makes them as unique as they are.
Part of the answer I already know. There's hormones in there. Lots of 'em. And they're new and powerful things, too. Which is why we get twelve-year-old girls who act like they're fresh off the schizophrenic ward and fresh out of meds. The high drama that goes on in my classrooms is staggering. Girl X and Girl Y are the best of friends. Five minutes later, they're mortal enemies, owing to a comment Girl Y made about Girl X's boyfriend, and they have to be pulled apart by security before they literally pull each other's hair out. Five minutes after security has hauled them off, they're back, arm in arm, singing songs to each other and giggling like crazy. Which they are.
It's not just the hormones, though. The junior high mind has an incredible talent for shifting the blame off of the mind's owner. A student in my class could smash another student in the face with the T volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica and call me a retarded motherfuckin' asshole. When discussing the matter later on in the Assistant Principal's office, said student would then, when asked if they know why they're in trouble, explain to the A.P. that it's because I don't like him. There's a definite deficit in the understanding of cause and effect going on in these minds. "Why are you being suspended?" "Yo, I don't know. I was sittin' there, doin' my work and then Mr. Wack tells me to go to the office." "And it has nothing to do with the fact that you set fire to Tony's shirt?" "Tsk. Mr. Wack hates Puerto Ricans."
But there's more to it than just shifting blame. Junior high school kids have a fantastic ability to completely change reality. Today, a student asked me the ever so charming question "Do you do your wife?" This, to me, was a little more than I could stomach, especially from this particular student, who has had a whole boatload of issues almost every class. I had a very hard time restraining myself and, even with that effort, I hollered at him. When his classroom teacher returned, I made my report on this and other fun things the class had done. The kid in question protested, denying that he'd said any such thing.
Now, it's one thing to lie to save your ass. That, I could understand. It would irk me, but I could understand it. But I looked in this kid's eyes and I saw that he was believing it. He was telling the truth. In his world, he never said it and I made this vicious lie up to get him in trouble. I can't quite wrap my head around this ability. To be able to convince yourself that you haven't done something that you very much have. To revise history not just in terms of how you want other people to perceive what you did, but also in terms of how you remember it. What's going to happen to a kid who's able to clear his conscience this way of every horrible thing he ever does?
Probably, he'll become president.
One of my favourite lines was :Post a Comment
"Hey, Ms. B.! You- Me- Hot-tub?"
I told the student next to him to wake him up, since he was obviously dreaming.
It amused me, though most sexual statements thrown my way did not. Oh the joys of teaching. Wait till I start again, and you will see a whole new side to my blog. I do love the kids, but that doesn't stop me from venting about them... in fact, my venting may be the very thing that allows me to keep loving them.