red rags, Flamingo Dancers and a territorial fight

It was one of those moments when you just reach your damn limit. I teach most of my classes in the library, using a mobile interactive whiteboard with an overhead projector. This means that sometimes there are other students in the library, often wander across in front of the whiteboard (as do teachers!) and often students enter the library to collect printing from the central photocopier.

Friday afternoon, I had my year 8 class settled and doing some silent individual reading, I mean what else can you do during the last period on a Friday afternoon?

school asleep

Two senior girls came in to collect printing, one chewing gum which is banned at our school; at any school in Australia I would say.

Well, first they had to restart their laptop and send the print command. This is something they could have done in the classroom as our school is wireless. To accomplish this the girls thought they could just settle themselves down in the middle of my class. (Even though it is wireless, students still think they have to sit within one metre of the printer for some weird reason. Yeah, the wired generation!)

The quiet was arguably disturbed more by Mrs FD announcing, “Excuse me, but you are in the middle of my class!” They appeared to think I was apologising to them that they had to be in the vicinity of my students. I repeated myself.

They stood, bewildered as to where to go next, though 70 percent of the library was vacant. One girl was particularly offended, and obviously the effort of moving was both too exhausting and too vexing to deal with, so she walked to the edge of my group and threw herself onto the floor, much like a toddler throwing a tantrum.

Red rag to a Flamingo Dancer.

I walked over and threw myself down in the same manner beside her. As the other girl was carrying the laptop I  eyeballed Miss Throw Me Down and politely asked, “What are you contributing to this operation?”

“I am going to show her how to send it to the printer.”

“Oh, you are the brains of the operation, then?” I replied. “Go back to your class room.”

Before she got back, a call had been put through to her teacher. He took it from there…

The most rewarding part of all this was that I was able to rise again from the floor without any assistance from my students. It may not have been elegant, but it was accomplished!


13 thoughts on “red rags, Flamingo Dancers and a territorial fight

  1. Good heavens, no student is worth getting on the floor for. Better you should have teed off with your stick, using the student as a golf ball.

    More seriously, I cannot understand why some students are oblivious to the fact that there is an event going on where they are not the center of attention, and they should stay the heck away, quietly, and without any disruption. I’ve had to take students aside for make-up tests in another room; it is quiet and it is obvious I am administering a test, but inevitably, some muddle-headed malingerer will come in, throw his book on the table, and proceed to fidget and kick the table leg. When I bellow at him to get out, he looks startled, as if he hadn’t seen us there. Perhaps he hadn’t, but I can only wonder where his brain wandered off to.


    • Yes, we have it happen continuously. We have small glass fronted rooms where students can undertake exams , and we have even put EXAM IN PROGRESS notices on the glass door, and yet Silly Billy or Sillie Billie, will still open the door and try to settle in. I have a theory that they are so used to being told what to do, where to sit, by parents and teachers that they just put their brains on neutral.


  2. It is so difficult to imagine how you teach with all the interruptions. When you are teaching in the library, is it still open as a community resource area? I am thinking locks on the door, or some of those snakes from your home placed strategically around your room; if you can’t keep noisy people out, maybe they will hurry if there is a snake on the copier or audiovisual equipment watching!


    • Yes it is an open plan library, and it is open to other classes. Sometimes lessons fall apart and I have to be flexible and adjust lesson plans as I go… we are short of classrooms school wide. At least I don’t have to go outside if it rains!


  3. Full props to you for managing to get up again!
    And for restraining yourself from stick usage as well.

    I went to a weekend student conference at UC Berkeley last year.
    After lunch a session was scheduled in a reserved classroom.
    A random student was in the room, working on his laptop, and REFUSED TO BUDGE.
    It took a good fifteen minutes to shift him – he was telling the student session head to go find another room!
    I finally got him booted, because enough is enough.
    Sorely wanted a stick of my own at that point.


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