In fact, I hadn’t. Yes, I was.
School started midweek this year. I planned to use that time to ease the class into the schedule and out of their summer lollygags. Three days seemed reasonable to remind students of proper manners in hallways and outside other classroom doors.
Still, the Troublemint Twins wouldn’t have it. Nope, Byrne decided “cold turkey” was the only way to go, and Jeremiah agreed. The bathroom is close to the K-4/5 classroom. Noise in line from my class means a disruption to that classroom. On the first day of school, yesterday, the entire class needed a gentle reminder that while in line they should remain silent. Well, that didn’t work for the Twins, so they had to be removed from the area. That means they were sent back to the classroom for a few minutes so they could settle down a bit. The first time happened at snack time, just before recess. The process repeated itself just before lunch, which means the boys were both late for lunch.
When I went back to the classroom to get the pair I said, “Now gentlemen, we don’t want to do this again tomorrow, do we? You’re Second Graders this year…”
Byrne cut me off. He was going to do the talking. He reckoned he knew my mind better than I knew it myself.
“Yup. And if we do it tomorrow we’ll get sentences.”
“Yeah,” said Jeremiah with a knowing look.
Hmmm… I thought. This ought to be interesting. Works for me.
Mind you now, there are two new ones to my crew, and Sean and Jacob both have returned. Sean’s taking full advantage of three days of grace breaking into the school routine, but he’ll stop talking when reminded. David is in Third Grade, very quiet and watchful. When he grins I know he’s really pleased with something. It’s coming more often than not. Erika, also Third Grade, bubbles over with enthusiasm and wonders “how anyone puts up with so many boys.” I look at her and say, “You do it, too, don’t you?” These three days are a learning curve for her, too. Jacob, the oldest of the bunch, doesn’t need three days to break in. He knows the ropes and shows them by example.
Snack time rolled around today and the Twins just couldn’t help being themselves. That was all fine and dandy until I was again giving the crew their gentle reminder. Right on cue, Byrne leaned over to Jeremiah as I was speaking and began talking.
I looked at him, he looked at me, and I pointed toward our classroom. He walked the long walk back.
I will listen while my teacher is speaking. Seven times.
“I promised,” he said later through sobs. “I promised my dad I wouldn’t get into trouble.”