I had a rough day Monday.
One student punched me in the stomach, later a different one jumped me from behind.
I like to keep my classroom door open. My room gets very warm and there is better air circulation with the door open. Usually it’s not a problem, but Monday it was.
I had one 7th grade class in the room with all ten students working when three students from the other 7th grade special education class ran into my room and started hitting one of the boys. I hurried over to intercede and the invaders ran out of the room. I walked over to close my door and one of the invaders lunged and punched me in the stomach. Then he ran away.
There was no physical damage, but I was stunned. The boy who hit me was in my self-contained common branch class last year and, despite occasional outbursts, he showed promise as a writer.
Five periods later I was covering the afternoon homeroom of the class that had been invaded.
As I walked into the room the five other members of the class were picking on a short, quiet boy (not the one who was hit earlier). The students were calling him vile names and he looked like he was about to cry.
I tried to get the boy out of the room. It was almost dismissal and I was going to let him leave a couple of minutes early to avoid his classmates outside. As I was calling him to me a large, aggressive girl jumped into my back, chopping her arm just to the right of my neck.
I am substantial, but gentle and a pacifist. I’m tall, broad shouldered and barrel-chested, which could explain why I’m rarely challenged physically. Why wasn’t it working for me then? Had I done anything differently, anything that would explain these attacks?
My knees buckled and my head snapped back. I felt a little dizzy. I spun and backed my attacker into a wall. I checked her hands for weapons. Her hands were empty so I let her go. She left the room and went to the principal to complain that I had restrained her. He thought I acted reasonably under the circumstances and told her so. It’s nice to be backed up.
Here’s what I’m puzzled about: the girl in question has stabbed students with a pencil or pen three times, twice just missing the victims’ eyes. Because of that she was on an expedited track to a more restrictive environment in a different school. Last Thursday she came to say goodbye to me, that it was her last day in my school.
She’s still here.