Ironically, after I wrote my recent post about Fric and Frac, I had another incident with Frac. I shouldn’t use the word “ironically,” actually, because that makes it seem like the incident was unexpected, and it wasn’t.
Lately, Frac has slept through the class when he’s been there at all. However, he was awake this time. Since we travel to the kids’ homerooms instead of them to us, I went in as their math class was ending. They know I expect them to be seated and to ask if they need to get up. Once they were all settled, Frac got up and began walking around the room. I asked him to sit down, and he threw a fit. It turns out that he needed a pen, but to me it appeared that he was walking around to talk to the other students. He began yelling and swearing about needing a pen, finishing with “I ain’t askin’ for shit,” and stormed out of the room. Later I learned that minutes later he cursed out the assistant principal and principal, complaining that they never do anything when the teachers curse at him as he proceeded to launch every foul word in his repertoire at them.
You may be scratching you head about the “teachers cursing at him,” part. I didn’t mention that I cursed him out, because I didn’t curse him out.
His mother came in later and met with me, the AP and principal, the dean, a school safety agent, and the other teachers. Frac again launched his accusations about the teachers cursing at him, but when pressed, he narrowed it down to me and the only other white teacher. Now, I have cursed this child out mightily, in my mind, many times. But it’s always remained in the confines of my head. In fact, I have never even raised my voice at him. Luckily, there was another teacher in the room during the time he accused me at cursing at him who supported the correct version of events.
I have no illusions about what’s going to happen with this kid. I know there will be another show of temper and swearing; I just don’t know when it’ll happen. I don’t know what triggers Frac’s anger, because it changes every time. If I knew what his triggers were, I’d try my best to avoid them. But I have to admit that I’m nervous, because he’s so unpredictable. We really don’t know where to put him. His parents are also apparently afraid of him as well, which I can understand. Walking on eggshells two or three periods a day is hard; living with a kid like him must be really difficult.
I hate that I’m waiting for the next blow up, but in some ways it makes things easier because I know it’s inevitable. There was a time when I really believed that I could make a difference for a kid like Frac, but time and disappointment has showed me that I really can’t. Like so many other kids, something in this kid’s soul is broken, maybe beyond repair. It’s beyond me. But the fact that I can accept this is better for me in the long run. This situation is the kind that causes teachers to burn out way before their time. I’ve come to believe that sometimes I really can’t make a difference, and that has to be ok, because I have to last another twenty years. I can wallow over the kids like Frac, or I can feel good about the kids who I really have helped, as few as they are.