Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dividers and Dividees

I have a kid in my class who reminds me of My Little Pony. They have the same face and haircut and are both a bit smaller than their classmates and talk about science-y things. I have recently put his class on a new seating chart to regain control of my classroom from a roving band of hooligans, plus a wannabee. It has been working. I can actually hear myself talk. That's all that's important. It doesn't matter if they can hear me, because they tune me out. They hear, "Blah blah blah early out blah blah substitute blah blah blah."

Yesterday, I scoped out the classroom while doing my duty in the hall, and saw MLPlite standing behind my desk. That's on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Never Ever List. I told him, "Go to your assigned seat." He said he didn't like it. He wanted to sit up front. Never mind that he used to sit directly in front of me, and asked to move to the back. Now he is off to the side, by the windows. He promised not to cause trouble. I told him that wasn't the issue. He is a divider. Obviously, this kid is not familiar with the concept of Divide and Conquer, which was invented by a teacher in 200 AD. I think. I might have my facts wrong, but it seems plausible. The job of MLPlite is to separate two shenaniganing factors. He does it well. On the one day that I let him move, the dividees put their hoods on their heads and tightened the drawstrings to an opening the size of a quarter, and pulled their arms in their sleeves, and had a sleeve-slapping fight. All this with a desk between them. Go figure. They are hardcore, these bad apples. Don't tell me it's not fair to MLPlite. I was used as a divider in school, as are my children. It's a job we're born to do. The world is made up of two kinds of people: Dividers and Dividees.

MLPlite went back to his seat. I turned back to the hall. Not much action this hour. I am the only class that is coming back from lunch on the whole end of my hall. Then I heard, "Pssst! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!" I turned, and saw the head of MLPlite sticking around the metal door frame. Just the head. That kid is so slender that he was standing in the light switch corner, which is only as wide as...a light switch. He still wanted to move. No dice. I sent him packing. I said, "You're like Waldo. I never know where you're going to appear next." The rest of the class got the joke. MLPlite apparently had not been introduced to Waldo.

After reading and discussion, we broke up into partners of my choosing to work. I do this a lot. It's better for them to discuss and argue than to guess at the answers and turn it in 5 minutes after getting it. I saw where Waldo went. Five minutes later, there he was by the board. I have not idea what he was doing. Then he was over by the door, sitting behind his lunch nemesis. A bit later, he appeared at the back of the room, motioning the crazy gesture with his finger by his ear. I can't explain it. He's a good kid. He gets good grades. He participates in discussion. But he's a Waldo.

I said, "Waldo, go back to that last seat you were in. I'm tired of looking for you." Waldo went back. He looked hurt. "You're racist." He has this discussion several times a day with his lunch nemesi, who take his notebook and hide his books every time he gets up. My advice would be: STOP GETTING UP! Anyhoo, they joke about it, because one of the kids is Mexican, and Waldo himself holds a good tan. But I draw the line at being presumed racist because I called him 'Waldo'. "Excuse me," I said, "but how is that racist? I'm calling you a famous fictional character who is loved by children around the world." Waldo looked puzzled. "Oh." Another student woke up and chimed in. "Dude. He's a guy in a red and white sweater who gets lost in crowds. Get over it." I think he did.

This afternoon, before our tardy bell, Waldo appeared in a seat near the front. His assigned seat was stacked upside down on his assigned desk, the legs sticking up in the air. "There," said Waldo proudly. "You have your divider."

Nice try.


DPA said...

I have so few dividers available to me, and I feel bad about using them when they would rather be off to the side of the room somewhere, safely out of the way of the shenaniganning.

Did I misspell shenan again ing?

Most of my dividers don't seem to mind, but a few are dreading the moment I move them between two shenanagenists. You can see the dread in their eyes when you look around the room for a suitable divider and your eyes fall on them. It's all they can do to not say "NNnnnnoooooOOO!" Which is kinda funny, really, because if they did say "NNnnooOOO" I would probably make them move. Since they don't argue, I don't move them. If you've got THAT much self control, who am I to jeopardize your happiness? I've got 15-16 years on 'em and I don't have that much self control.

But I was a dividee, you know.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Call me psychic, but I KNEW you were a dividee.