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i really wanted to shove his head through the door
December 18, 2002, 8:46 pm

"When did we go back to kindergarten?"

Jarvis' comment hung in the air like a heavy cloud. It wasn't that he said it for the listening pleasure of his classmates within earshot; he raised his hand. I called on him. He said it out loud.

We had finished reading Capote's "A Christmas Memory" (my favorite short story of all time) and we were doing a journal where the students had to describe an important person and a special time they had with them. It was a journal entry, for gosh sakes, and he said "When did we go back to kindegarten?"

I wanted to cry.

I almost did.

I'm very sensitive about what I do in my classes. I worry sometimes that I'm too hard or not hard enough. I thought the journal would be a nice way to tie the story together and to have a zero-pressure day after taking their Word of the Day quiz.

I asked him to come out into the hall with me and to discuss his comment. "If you have a problem with the assignment," I said, "You need to talk to me."

He shrugged. "It's like stuff we did in kindergarten," he said.

"I sincerely doubt your kindergarten teacher asked for many sensory details or asked you to use Truman Capote as a model," I snorted. I was defensive. I'm not proud of the way I handled myself today.

I feel like crying again. I'm mad as I'm typing this. Vengeful. Spiteful. I want to assign those kids nineteen pages of reading for homework tomorrow.

One kid made my mind messy today; one kid ruined my entire day, a day I was supposed to relax and enjoy.

I hate my job sometimes, Educator of the Month or no. (More on that later...)

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