The day started off rather mundane.
In my 2nd hour 6th grade class, only 2 students had their homework. Knowing that I had an amazing lecture planned for them, I refused to let it discourage me. After all, students not having their homework (to my dismay) is normal.
And yet, an eerie feeling swept through me as I surveyed the class.
Every hand was up in the air as the students begged for the opportunity to participate…Not normal. When it was time to take notes, every student had their notebook and proceeded to write with the utmost concentration…Not normal. To my surprise, the typically disruptive Dumitru sat attentively in his seat for the entire lesson, and then, he proceeded to show me at the end of class how he had written down every word!
“Doamnișoara Profesora,” he called, running up to me. “Look!” And I looked, unable to mask my elation I embraced Dumitru and told him how proud of him I was…NOT NORMAL!
Furthermore, Ion, a student from a “Vulnerable Family” had a notebook today. Not only did he have his notebook, but he wrote in it. Not only did Ion write in his notebook, but he participated in the group work, as the students discussed short term and long term effects of alcohol. Ion wanted to participate. So when other students complained about working with him, I harshly chastised them. I didn’t want anything ruining this sudden metamorphosis in Ion. After all, it is not normal.
By the end of the class, the students could tell me the way alcohol is processed within the body and what happens to the liver when there are elevated alcohol levels in the blood. This was supposed to be a complicated lesson…But I truly believe every student understood. Not to beat a dead horse…But this is not normal!
Fast forward to my 5th hour 6th grade class, I found the same peculiar (though appreciated) change in behavior from my students. Mihai, a boy with wandering eyes, who catches flies, and refuses to ever sit down or write, or pay attention… He had his notebook today. And like Dumitru, he wrote Every. Single. Word. I tried to give Mihai a high five after class, but they don’t understand high 5s in Moldova. And when I tried to show him he ran. HAHAHA! I really wanted him to know how much I appreciated his effort.
So I know you are wondering…What is this cancer I am referring to in the blog title? Well, while all the other students were behaving brilliantly, Adrian, a notoriously disruptive student, was on his worse behavior yet! In the beginning of the year, I appreciated and even welcomed Adrian’s energy. He seemed engaged, but towards the end of last semester and even now into the New Year, Adrian has changed for the worse.
“Adrian sit down! Where is your notebook? Stop hitting Dan! Write something down! I’m serious Adrian, STOP hitting Dan! Adrian, SIT DOWN! Adrian, move over here! You can’t sit there anymore!….” I repeated these phrases and so many more throughout the lecture, while my partner gave me a look that said, “Laquia, give it up already.” She is rather good at ignoring the problem.
But I couldn’t give it up. Not when all of the other students, including Dan who usually is much worse than Adrian, were behaving so well. My biggest fear was that if Adrian kept it up, Dan would soon follow and so would Mihai. It became clear to me, Adrian was the cancer in the room. I had to stop his bad energy from spreading. I tried to take the gentle approach:
Me: Adrian you used to be a really good student. Now your behavior is bad. What happened?
Adrian: I have problems. (Adrian said this with a smile on his face)
Me: What kind of problems?
Adrian: Life problems! (Adrian began to laugh hysterically)
Me: Who is your Diriginte?
The next thing I know, all the laughter stopped. My partner teacher instructed one of the good students to go get their Diriginte a.k. homeroom teacher. By the time she came, Adrian was writing in his notebook and pleading ignorance. But after I explained to her the problem, it was clear that he was in trouble. Adrian was getting a note sent home that had to be signed by his parents. After his Diriginte left, Adrian didn’t say a single word and even had tears in his eyes…Not Normal.
Apart of me felt guilty for admonishing him that way. I was once the problem child that was always being reprimanded. This is probably why I had been so patient with him up until this point. However, I had a truly great lesson with valuable information that I wanted the students to learn, and Adrian was the only obstacle in my way.
I’m not sure where this sudden change in behavior came from. Perhaps the theme was so relevant to their lives that everyone was interested? Either way, I don’t care. I only hope to see the same results next week…Cancer free of course.
However, we all know these things have a way of spreading.
That is all.