I want to share a conversation that took place in my classroom on Friday, but first: an introduction to the key players.
Student 1: Came to my class about two weeks ago. I asked him, “Where did you come from? Another teacher here? Another school? Another town?”
“I came from JLC miss.”
“Ok. Is that here in town?”
“No! Don’t you know miss, it’s the state Ju-Ve school.”
“You wanna see pictures of my son?”
Our conversation went on to cover how long he had been in a Juvenile detention center, how old his two children with two different baby-mamas were, how often he got to see them, and what he could write about for his first rough draft for me.
Student 2: A skater boy with long emo hair who has not done a stitch of work for me without serious argument and negotiation, always at the last minute
During SSR when everyone is supposed to be reading, Student 1 and Student 2 are both doing nothing and trying to blame each other. I threaten and hand them books, and they quiet down momentarily, and then:
Ju-Ve says, “You’re pretty,” to skater boy.
Skater boy replies, “You’re a fag!” to Ju-Ve.
Ju-Ve says, “You really wanna get on that train?”
In deference to the (relative) silence of the room, I suppress the laughter threatening to burst out of me by covering my mouth with my hand and shaking uncontrollably. It doesn’t really work. I finally say, “I’m sorry, do people really say that?” and then go back to my shaking silently gig. They catch it from me and are now trying to control their giggles as well.
We survive the next fifteen minutes reading, and on the way out Ju-Ve tosses some comment about how stupid reading is, and I ask him, “You really wanna get on that train?”