Neither Cranky Nor Angry Nor Calm But Scary

I was in an odd mood today. I wasn’t angry or cranky and I wasn’t impatient. I was just confrontational in a very calm sort of way.

My first class went well, but I had a couple students try to cheat on the assignment. I saw Student A copying from a completed paper. When I confronted him and his partner they tried the “play dumb and pretend the teacher is dumb” tactic by saying the paper that was being copied actually belonged to Student B. The problem was they couldn’t explain why they had three papers for two students and why Student B’s paper hadn’t been turned over to the correct side to do the writing. I assigned them to memorize it (which was not part of the original assignment) and told them to meet me in the teachers’ office at 1:00 p.m.

They didn’t show up, which means it’s time for me to go hunting and have a little fun.

Then I had my worst class, and they started out bad. Students stayed out in the hall after the bell, other students sat in the wrong seats. I gave them fair warning and got laughs in response. I then went to the hall, grabbed the biggest student by the shirt and dragged him to his chair. This prompted the other students to hurry a bit. (Note to teachers: if you’re going to get physical, take out the biggest guy first and the rest will follow.) Then, during the warm up, a few students refused to ask me questions, thinking they could somehow win. Instead, I started the lesson and left them standing until they asked me a question.

One student stood the entire class because he thought he could out-stubborn me and/or that I would forget. (He can’t and I didn’t.) Another student fell asleep and after I woke him up, he got to stand, too. (I did let him sit, though, after he finished his work.)

After that class things settled down a bit. Mostly because I didn’t have any classes until after lunch.

After lunch the classes went well, although they were noisy (normal for Japan) and I did have to walk around a lot playing enforcer. By the end of the two classes my voice and ears felt as if I’d just spent two hours in a night club trying to talk and listen over loud music.

Oddly, during all this, I never shouted. I just got loud a couple times and acted scary. During my worst class, some students were throwing a pencil case. I looked at the student who had the case and said “Throw it again. I dare you.” He didn’t know exactly what was going on, but knew I looked angry. I repeated “Throw it again. I dare you.”  After a minute, he figured out what I was saying and I hinted that if he threw the case again, it would be mine for a very long time.

He put it away and I never saw it again.

Now I have to decide if I want to keep this mood as part of my teaching persona. If I do, I’ll have to figure out what it was the caused it, first.

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