Posts Tagged ‘half’
I know a man-child. I had never met one before I joined the veteran’s band, but I did as soon as I started showing up to practice. He stood out. He stands out a lot.
He stands up a lot, too, up in front of the whole band. Though he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket if it were welded inside, he’s our lead vocalist.
He isn’t that bad of a singer, I suppose, though his voice warbles out of tune with alarming frequency. He’s American Idol material, if with only this caveat — he’d only be popular in the first half of the season.
At our concerts, he’s introduced as a featured vocal soloist for the Chicago Symphony for “many, many years.” That’s his story he tells. We know that he was in a ridiculously large chorus performing beside the Chicago Symphony for a few performances, and hasn’t been back since. Maybe the director over there got as sick of his one-upmanship and unjustified self-centered diva personality as we should be.
We daren’t kick him out. He has a place here.
At the very least, he qualifies for our veteran’s band, as a former Navy SEAL. We ignore that he was kicked out of the Navy SEALs for getting his Navy SEALs tattoo before he finished training. He tries so hard to do some good, but just when you think he has something between the ears, he goes off and does some fool thing.
Especially on pieces when he’s in the back of the band playing percussion instead of the front singing or narrating, he’ll purposefully say something inane — “I can’t play the cymbal. My music says ‘suspended.’” We”ll look in his general direction to soothe his ego, and we’ll roll our eyes afterward. Our director is the picture of patience. He’s also the picture of subtly wry humor our soloist never picks up on.
He plays every instrument in the band better than the musicians who played professionally, if you believe what he says. You won’t: He can’t quite get a grip even on his bass drum and cymbal.
He is famous for his generosity, and is even more famous for how his generosity is a misguided attempt to purchase our friendship to him. He thinks it’s working because, in spite of it all, we consider him a friend.
He’s a loud, boorish cad, and the band just wouldn’t be the same without him. He’s our loud, boorish cad. That makes all the difference.
It’s my water bottle. Quiet.
No it isn’t.
Be quiet and do your test or leave.
He left, very noisily bouncing his basketball on his way out. The RSP coach left her assigned student, writing Mr. Balla up for referral to a vice principal.
Because he never shows up, I didn’t even know what name to tell her to put on the referral. Naturally.
This class is usually trouble, as the RSP coach is well aware. She’s been here before. Patronizingly, she leans and whispers hoarsely into my ear.
I know they’re bad and how you’re just a student teacher, so maybe I might have an idea that will help you. All the ringleaders are next to the window, so maybe a seating chart? I don’t know if you’ve thought of it.
Yes, I have. Given a warning, they behave themselves just enough so I don’t have pretext to mess with the seating chart. I would have told her that, but she went on to repeat herself for a good minute or two, in the same patronizing whisper. She tells me nothing I don’t already know, nothing I haven’t already thought of.
I’ve already asked myself: Is there something I’m doing wrong, something so seemingly small or insignificant that I don’t even remember it, or to mention it here in the blog? I don’t suppose the reader would know the answer to that question.
This is the same class where even one would-be gangster who shows up regularly will very casually bump into me while walking by, where two girls who love talking back will waddle in five minutes past the lunch bell, noisily slurping their Icee.
I can’t very well lay down the law — my master teacher never minded these habits at all, and the students know he’s really the teacher of record. I’ll be the mean teacher and lose the efficacy I already have.
They can sense that he knows what he’s doing and I don’t. Every week, someone in fifth period tells me:
You’re not a real teacher.
With less than a month of instruction left, it’s too late to fix this class. I just can’t shake the feeling that it would have been so much easier if I had started off the year with them, rather than coming in halfway.
Half of my fifth period class is consistently studious. The other half might as well be the half-of-class from hell.
I usually chalk this modern world history class’ horrible-osity to that it is full of sophomores, fresh from lunch, or the at least one charismatically obnoxious RSP kid who steals attention from the lesson whenever possible.
Today, the class was worse than it had ever been.
There are 36 desks in this fifth period classroom and 39 kids. If you believe everything you read, that’s an overcrowding worthy of New York City.
Strangely enough, I don’t usually have a problem with this. Though the room is a swamp cooler away from being a sweatbox half the time, chances are that no more than 29 students show up on any given day. The 10 students missing tend to be the sort of students who don’t mind missing or disrupting class at the slightest provacation.
This was the day we did our benchmark tests. This was also the day that 37 students decided to show up, including the all but one of the aggrivatingest hellions who never show up.
I asked them to shush. They didn’t. Overcome with student snottiness, my voice grew in volume until I practically barked at them to be quiet in the manner of my master teacher, but without the months of street cred.
Rookie mistake, but it seemed to have worked this time. Temporarily, they got mostly quiet. Temporarily, they mostly followed instructions for the benchmark tests.
I took a swig from my water bottle, and an otherwise perpetually absent hellion responded.
What the fuck?
The class erupted, again. Hell.