Friday, April 07, 2006

Where's my biohazard suit?

During 4th period, I was teaching physics in my friend's room and he came in with one of our students and asked if he could cool off with me for a while and I said no problem. Class was almost over and he seemed pretty calm when the bell rang. He was just going up to my room for 5th period and I was right behind him after picking up my stuff. I was going up the stairs and saw two boys fighting. Well, I could mostly see just one kid. Since I had promised Ryan that my days of breaking up fights were over, I ran downstairs to the closest office and told the secretary that they were fighting in the stairwell. She looked at me like I was speaking another language. I said, they're fighting. Then I pulled out my ID and shoved it in her face, said I was a teacher and to call security. Why? They're fighting! Argh!

When I got back up to the landing on the stairs, only one kid was there and his nose was bleeding profusely. He asked me a question and I couldn't figure out what he was saying. I finally figured out that he was asking me if the blood was coming from anywhere other than his nose and I said, no. There was blood all over the floor. He seemed a little lost, so I told him he needed to go to the nurse. I picked up his bag, put my arm around his shoulders and got him to start down the stairs. A girl pointed out his watch and I picked that up. I walked him down to the nurse. The secretary asked me to stop by after and talk to her but I said I had to go to my class.

By the time we made it to the nurse's office, security had finally shown up, so I left the boy's stuff with the nurse and he was in the bathroom washing up. I made it to class about 15 minutes late and my students were starting to abandon the room for lunch since the door was locked. I ran into the kid from 4th period along with his friend and herded them back to class. The teachers on my hallway made sure I was okay since they knew I was on campus and it's not like me to be so tardy for class.

I got class started and got the kid from 4th period settled in and working on the test he didn't take the other day because he threw a fit. I knew something was going on with him and was hoping he was doing better. But then one of the security guards came in and asked for him. Dang. Then he asked how old he is. Double dang since the answer was 17. At this point I was still thinking this was unrelated to the stairwell fight.

I emailed my colleague and asked what happened with our student and then mentioned the unrelated fight. He said he thought it may have been related since the reason he brought the kid to cool off was he had gotten into it with another student in class and punched him. This is his tiny engineering class and they were making radios or something cool like that and doing some delicate soldering and the one kid must have bumped my kid. Seems that they met up again in the stairwell and really went at it. At this point, I was still hoping that he was wrong, but I had my doubts. The kid's friend came up to my desk a little after that and I asked him if it was true and he gave me this rueful look and said yes. DAMN!

I knew teaching would be hard, but I didn't count on the kids breaking my heart the way they do. This kid is good and smart in spite of whatever issues he's currently struggling with. I felt like I should have talked more with him right away, but I wanted him to have a chance to cool off a little. I even asked him briefly if he was okay-- after the fight-- not realizing it had been him. Honestly, had I known, I might have had a harder time staying out of it. I know what I promised Ryan, but when it's one of "my" kids", I turn into this momma bear. Like last year when one of my AdvoKids(TM) got knocked flat onto the sidewalk by a refrigerator-sized kid and I jumped right in the middle of them and put my hands on his chest and pushed him back.

Oh, and I realized I had blood on my brand-new shirt. Just a little on the collar. I found another spot later on. Kind of creepy if you think about it, but I doubt it's anything to be concerned about. I'm probably less at risk, putting my arm around a kid was a nose bleed than I am touching my doorknob... Forget antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer-- I need a freaking SUIT!

Now I'm exhausted and on the verge of tears. I'm thinking about all my students and the ones who've gotten in trouble: the one who went to jail after bringing a gun to my class (unloaded), the kid who went back to jail after getting caught huffing carburetor cleaner in a water bottle in class, the girl who was clinically depressed, the kid who... Boys and girls, this is a large part of why I'm afraid to have kids.


Grant-Will-Rant said...

You know, you're an awesome teacher because you truly care. It's apparent that the job is more than just a paycheck to you. And I think that kid is going to remember that his teacher (momma bear) put her arm around him, and comforted him, when he was at his lowest.

By the way, your own kids won't have those problems because of who you are and how you would raise them. A large reason, I believe, that these kids are so troubled is due to the fact that there are so many rotten parents out there. Your kids won't have that problem.

Robert said...

Cousin Kate:

Thank you for your hard work and dedication. I'm proud to have you as a cousin, and I would have loved to have been in a classroom with someone as dedicated to her students as you are.

Keep up the great work!

k said...

You are a wonderful teacher. You put your heart and soul into the kids and in the long run, that makes more difference than how much chemistry they learn.

As for having your own kids, don't let fear keep you from one of life's greatest joys. Marriage is also a lot of work and you hear a lot of horror stories about that, but you were willing to take that risk. And as someone once said, "The people who care the most about kids ought to be the ones having some."

Kelli in the Mirror said...

I've read this post about six times this week and haven't commented because I just don't know where to start. I love you. You are a great teacher. Your kids will not turn out like this!!! You will love them, be there to help them, and not live in a district where they are forced to go to this kind of school! :)

Kate said...

I love you guys so much! What an amazing blessing it is to have friends and family like you!