Carol Bontekoe

This blog has been keeping track of my adventures since 2004. The stories and the adventures have come from my college dorm room to Uganda, Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan, learning Dutch in the Netherlands to living in the wilds of Homer, Alaska. I went back to school in Amsterdam to study Theaterwetenschap (Theatre Science) at University of Amsterdam. And now my adventures as a Fruit Fly, a Sexy Unicorn, and creating a movement with Team Sparkle in Chicago.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Now we're talking about what I know

“Sit down; you’re not pulling anything that I haven’t already thought of!” I say this in English to one of my students who can’t understand one word that I just said. He gives me a smirk then takes a long leisurely stretch and makes as much nose as he can in the process. I smirk back thinking, ‘Honey, came up with that one in Mrs. Ladd’s 1st grade class!’ He slowly walks back to is chair and does as I suspected he would pulls the chair out so it scraps along the floor then turns it around so he is sitting backwards in the chair. This time I think, ‘Nothing that Mrs. French didn’t have to put up with in Excel in English in 5th grade.’ I’m not impressed. The things he just did are suppose to be a warm up to really agitating the teacher, to making sure not even the most studious of students can pay attention, to blatantly not doing the work. However, this is the best he has to offer. He sits down I stare at him and he turns the chair back around. Later he will hit one of his fellow classmates with a spit ball but that is easily ignored by the rest of the class. The next day when I ask where his homework his, he shrugs his shoulders and says he hasn’t done it. See, I’m not, not impressed, because he has disrupted class but for the lack of creativity the lack of flair. See I am an expert on how to really gnaw at a teacher’s goat, if you will. Let me give you a few examples:When I didn’t do homework I didn’t just say I didn’t do it. No, too simple, too expected from the talkative student in the front. (the front? Yes, back of the room disturbances are expected, being right in the front give an air that you might eventually crack down and study and forces all other students into disruptive behavior) No, I would hand write a paper in the class before, annoying that teacher, listing out all the reasons I did not bother to do the homework. It normally took as much if not more effort to do this than if I had just done the assignment. Then there were exams, particularly math exams. Where when knowing that I knew nothing for the exam I would proceed to write ten in for every answer. It was right once, but I only got partial credit because I didn’t show my work. Another time I wrote a very nice note about how I hate advanced algebra and it wasn’t going to help in life. Mrs. Erspamer wrote a big zero on the top with a smiley face in it. She liked my note Now a great way to disrupt the class and still get a good grade is to have actually studied and not just that but looked up background information. This is effective for actively interrupting the teacher with little nuggets you have found out, stopping other students from talking by correcting how what they think is right is actually wrong, and it helps for writing your tongue and cheek research paper. I’m still proud of my paper “Our Enemy to the North” in which I proved that beyond a doubt we should attack Canada. My presentation on it was top notch as I got sophomores to become passionate on the subject and kept them asking me questions about exactly how can we extract all their natural resources. That leads me to another good one for English class. Volunteer to read your paper you wrote. You have to make sure you have not actually read the book of which your paper is on, but be extremely critical about the author’s scholarship of this so-called “classic”. Yeah, I’m sure Dickens was great and all but I don’t need stories about crazy ladies in wedding dresses. If this is too much work learning show tunes and singing them on key trigger words is affective. Bringing in Varsity Blues and slipping it into the VCR while the teacher is gone for her cigarette break also works. When the teacher has you sit outside the classroom start to play wipe out on the lockers. Asking the weird lonely kid with the magic cards to please explain how awesome they are, and if that has not taken enough time move on to the pure awesomeness of Dungeons and Dragons. These are a bit of my tamer exploits into my past of being a disruptive student because I’m sure by now my mom is laying on the keyboard going where did I go wrong? However, then I get to point out I got into her alma mater, made Dean’s list, and graduated with Honors. Also, that all these exploits happened 4-16 years ago. Although, I could disrupt a college theatre class like no other for the simple fact that I can mimic mannerisms fairly accurately and Theatre Profs got some rockin’ mannerisms. Please, don’t think I say all this to brag. Not true. I just want to back up the fact that I am an expert in this field. There are lots of things I am not an expert on Napoleonic wars, Heisman Trophy Winners, Vegetarianism. But leading public school teachers and students alike, completely off topic. Oh, my friends I am an expert. I also know that from my time in excels and honors classes smart kids are the best ones at disrupting classes. Their creative little brains when turned towards the bad can be very powerful. And I could lead those kids in the disruptions. I’m not saying that makes me really smart, but does mean I could control the really smart kids. That is why when students show some caliber of excellence in the field of disrupting classes my inside urges want to nurture it but my roll as teacher has led me to trying to crush it. Examples of some of my better(disrupting) students:There is a second form boy who is shockingly disruptive with little effort. He touches everyone. All the time. Not fighting or hitting or being mean in any way. He just keeps touching them, the other children. I keep telling him to stop but it doesn’t happen and I can’t take him to the director for I would feel like an idiot explaining in my broken Russian that he touches the other kids, for no apparent reason. This is brilliant for it is a difficult issue to get under control for its lack of chaos. Then I have a third form boy that simply won’t sit down. When he doesn’t do his work he has this adorable and infectious giggle that says look how cute I am not doing my work. When he does do it, and I have written a 5 on his paper, he does a killer Michael Jackson impression. This stops all the kids and myself as we watch him spin, sing, dance, and moon walk. That is talent when even the teacher has to watch and can’t find the muster to say sit down. With my fifth form classes they have a lot of issues with cheating on exams (really quizzes, but we call them exams). On one exam I had the Russian word for flower as a bonus question and they had to write it in English. Only one girl got it but there were a bunch of boys with Violet written down. I couldn’t figure out where this came from but all the boys do sit together so I knew something was up. Then in the next class a boy Roma was talking to me and he pointed to alphabet chart next to “V” and said, “Violet (in Russian now) that means flower.” I looked at the chart looked back at him and smiled. Ah, that is where they got it. I called the boys out and was like you boys got caught coping off of this board and it isn’t even right the world for flower is flower. One boy Anatoli stands up, outraged that I could accuse him of cheating off of that board, “No! I copied off of Roma!” I suppressed my smile and told him to sit down because that was worse, I wasn’t actually mad about the coping off the board since it was my fault for not taking it down. I couldn’t be mad at him for coping off of Roma for is impromptu confession was too funny for me. Then there is Vallerii. My 6th former. A child after my own heart. He hardly comes to classes but when he does it is almost certain nothing can get done. He is actually pretty smart, but knows absolutely no words that I have taught him but can fluently repeat any rap line he has ever heard and anything I say in English not related to the lesson. He knows an abundance of curse words and how to properly use them. I have stifled that by looking at him blankly and asking if that is German. When he realized he is failing my classes he started pulling his chair up next to mine while they were suppose to be doing their writing exercises. Everyone was enticed to watch our dialogue instead. There is a sort of brilliant flair to his disruptions that I admire and would be co-collaborator if I were in sixth form with them. Only recently have I found a way to stop his antics. I made a deal that if EVERYONE, I had to keep reminding them that means Vallerii too, turns in all their homework and is very good for a week and a half we will play volleyball one day. This has lead to the other kids forcing Valerii to sit down, pleading with him to remain quit, and lending him paper and a pen to do his writing assignment. We’ll see how it works out. But again I gotta say I like his style, and trust me I’m an expert on these things.