The state of the classroom

A substitute school teacher had been called in, because the regular teacher had been causing some problems and then just up and left in the middle of the day.  She walked into the classroom and immediately saw a gang of third graders that had nearly gone the way of Lord Of The Flies. The kids were running around in shorts, torn shirts or no shirts, and no shoes.  Half of them were on one side of the room building a wall out of desks and text books, glueing them together with Elmer’s and tape.  The other half of the kids were on the other side of the room huddled up, everyonce in a while one would look out at the wall and then put his head back into the huddle.

The kids had at some point been normal, sat at their desks and listened to a teacher to learn about the world.  They would normally go home and have a snack, play in the yard, eat dinner, watch some TV, sleep and start the process over again the next day.

What the teacher saw here though, were not normal kids. These kids had gone feral, back to their animal instincts, and were waging war against each other.  The teacher just stood there in amazement, disgust, and wonder, trying to figure out what to do next.  She tried to yell over the noise, but no one even looked her way.  She tried to walk over to the wall that was being erected and was met by a barrage of scissors, staples, string, and notepads flying through the air.  When she approached the huddle, the kids growled at her and moved towards her menacingly.  All of a sudden, she was scared.  She was dealing with war like third graders who had tapped into some primeval location in their brains.  She had never seen this before and they definitely did not teach this in college.

The teacher would have under any other circumstance gone and gotten other teachers, or the principle or the SRO officer, but she didn’t have any time.  She had to do something now, otherwise all out war was going to break out and these kids were going to hurt each other.  First, she turned on sing-a-long music in the hopes of getting the kids attention. Nothing happened. Then she turned on the TV real loud, on a cartoon.  Nothing happened.

The teacher realized that the thing that these kids did not have and would have to have is food, they aren’t going to eat each other, right?  This particular teacher was the type that new she could persuade children with prizes like candies and cookies. So she had actually come prepared with these items in her bag.  So she walked over to her desk, put out a plate and set the food on it and waited.

Eventually, despite their best efforts to stay away from each other the kids started to smell the food and head straight for the desk.  The teacher saw what was happening and grabbed the plate just before the kids could, she jumped onto the desk and started handing out the cookies and candy to each kid as they came up to her.

It took hours for all the kids to come up and get the food, some of them held out forever. Some complained out loud, saying that it took too long for the teacher to show up and that this whole mess was her fault.  This was despite the fact that the regular teacher had shown up, kept the kids in the class room through lunch and then just walked out the door and disappeared.  But, once the food was there, available, and edible, the kids calmed down.  They stopped yelling, they started listening to the teacher, and she worked with them as she directed them to clean up the room.

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