For over ten years I have taught gender-split classes. It is an interesting task teaching a class full of boys. At one time in my career I had a class of forty-seven seventh grade boys. What I’ve learned over the years is that boys and girls are sooooo different. There are advantages and disadvantages to separating genders. Girls will get into fights and hold grudges for months, but boys just beat each other up and then they are over it. You can’t have a class of boys without experiencing a fight in the classroom at some time. It happens about once a year. When one has thirty-two to forty-seven boys crammed in one classroom a fight is inevitable. When things are done and conferencing with the two parties begins I am amazed at their reason for a fight. The main reason for the start of a fight is, “He keeps looking at me!” Really, gentlemen!
Just recently, I experienced another fight in my classroom but what made this fight different was it was a Silent Friday Fight. Silent Friday is something I have been doing for years, also. A dear friend and I made it up a long time ago. The last Friday of every quarter is Silent Friday. We give each student a certain amount of tickets and each time he or she talks we take a ticket away and at the end of the day the students put their tickets in a drawing for prizes. We tell the students that the only way they can talk is write everything down. (It does improve their writing skills.) The students love Silent Friday and so does the school staff. Administration loves to try to get the students to talk and the students love to refuse to speak. It’s everyone’s one day of fun for the quarter. On our most recent Silent Friday a fight broke out in the boys’ class. I was working with some boys in the front of the room. They were writing notes to me and I was answering their questions. (By the way, I don’t have to be silent on Silent Friday because I am the Queen, and I went to college so I get to make ALL the rules!) All of a sudden, I heard moving of desks, I look up and I see two boys fighting in the back of the room. But they are fighting SILENTLY! I am trying to get to the back of the room but I have boys sitting on the floor in front of me. Suddenly and SILENTLY, two of my biggest boys step between the two offenders, pull them apart, sit them in opposite corners of the room and sit down. ALL THIS WAS DONE WITHOUT A SINGLE WORD SAID. The two fighters never said a word to each other before the fight. They were silently slugging each other during the fight. The other boys silently watched. The fight was broken up without a word said by ANYONE, except me, of course, because my house, my rules.
When I took the two offenders outside the room to talk to them. I asked, “So what’s going on?”
One of the boys wrote on a piece of paper he had with him: He keeps looking at me!!!
I get it! I hate when Flip looks at me, why I oughta . . . . . . . .
The Flip Side
At least, I look at you and give you fair warning. Osa just puts my entire head in her mouth!
You two are such whiny-babies!