One of the most interesting, albeit frustrating, things about working with adolescents is that they actually start to use logic. Or, more to the point, they try to use logic. This ends up with a teacher staring at the child intoning, “Really? REALLY?
Because straight up the kid will try to convince you to buy whatever brand of foolishness he is selling that day. I always worry that this works with some adult in his life (at this point they are male. You can knock that out of a 6th grade girl in one semester if you’re a good teacher at all), and now he’s emboldened to just whip it out where ever and when ever his little synapses start to fire (not as often as I’d like, or even in the best manner). When this happens, teachers start with “REALLY?” then move on to “logic”-busters.
I’m not doing anything!
This gets whined at me when I’m staring at the kid after the lesson has been given, checking for understanding has taken place, we’ve worked through some examples, and the assignment has finally been given. Yes, indeed, this child (and he is still a child. He can tell me he’s 14 until he’s blue in the face (often does) and I will still insist that CHILDREN HAVE TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DO!) will sit there making spit balls, making faces across the room, playing with his pencil, and all other foolishness. At some point he’ll look up and give me the pre-requistite, “WHAT?” I don’t engage because there’s no point yet. Then I’ll hear, “I’m not doing anything.” with so much attitude you’d think this was an episode of “Good Times” or something.
That’s when I swoop in and let him know that’s my problem. I expect him to be completing the assignment. This is followed by one of those gaping fish mouths, no sound, and incredulousness. It was expected that I would leave him alone because, in his mind, he wasn’t causing trouble.
You didn’t tell me I couldn’t
Really? REALLY? You reach the age of 14, and all of a sudden you don’t know what’s expected of you. I don’t think so. If you weren’t sure you should have asked for permission. The fact that you didn’t means that you had every intention of trying to make this my problem and my fault. Uh-uh, Mister. Now you get twice the punishment for giving me attitude on top of being redonkulous.
Let’s just say, sweetheart, I didn’t tell you that you could.
WOW! OH, WOW!
This precious nugget comes out when you tell one of them “No!” or assign a consequence. Generally it’s thrown out when, after not completing work in class, the work is taken and given to another teacher who will hold the child in during breaks or lunch to get the work done. This apparently is forbidden by the Geneva convention, and said child doesn’t even know what to do with an adult who has the audacity to punish him. So he whips out the only thing he knows, “WOW! OH, WOW! You’re going to make me, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah (I’m sure he’s still talking, but I stopped listening.). This will continue as long as the teacher engages, so I don’t.
Not even, REALLY?. You know why, because sometimes you’re at your most powerful when you shut up.