Dunkin' Donuts Mayhem
Spending the morning with two rather disobedient and conduct-disorder inclined middle school students can be quite exhausting.
I should know, at least once a week I take a few of my charges on out-of-school "field trips." These field trips are designed to keep these students out of trouble in school, and for the most part, they work. The problem is that the life outside of middle school is just as if not more conducive to trouble causing and rabble rousing. Funny how it works that way, eh?
For example, I took two of them to Dunkin' Donuts a few weeks ago. In the span of about five minutes they 1) stole the tip jar off the counter 2) started throwing spit balls at each other, 3) took ice out of a cooler and put it down each other's shirts and 4) dropped the F-bomb about 15 times.
I, was of course, mortified. And unfortunately, even though I was a stern as could be, even yelled at them (which I try my hardest not to do), there wasn't much more I could do besides get them out of there as soon as possible without further causing a scene. I did get them to return the tip jar, which I see as a small victory.
The whole incident made me think quite a bit. Clearly these kids don't see me as much of an authority figure (although they told me I was a "hardass" because I made them put their trash in a trash can and other teachers don't do so). It's also clear that no one taught them that certain behaviors just aren't okay. No matter what. Being thought of as a pushover certainly made me feel sad (or rather ineffective), but realizing how much teaching and parenting these kids have missed out on made me even sadder. I work with them a few hours a day for a few months. I'm trying to counteract years of pain and hardship. That's a pretty tall order.
I can try hard and do my best, but there is only so much I can do. I need to remind myself of this sometimes. I have to take time for myself and spend some time indulging my interests and not being so hard on myself. Unfortunately, getting a coffee isn't quite as relaxing anymore! Maybe it will be again someday.