I walked into class this morning just before a downpour. All of my students were complaining about a huge test in another class... apparently, it's mid-term week. I must've missed the memo.
But I already had a lesson plan. I had 3 chapters to cover. I settled them into a group project that would help them in the long run and things were fine. Then I looked over and one student (isn't there always ONE?!) letting her partner do all the work while she flipped through the flashcards for this other mid-term.
"Put those away, please," I kept my voice calm, even, and friendly. She acted like she didn"t hear me. She was less than 4 feet away. I said it again and she looked up at me with the biggest adolescent attitude.
"You're in my class now and there is work to be done. I need you to put everything else away and get started." Again, I made eye contact and kept my voice calm and low. The rest of the class hushed. She tried to excuse her behavior but when she met my gaze, she put her flash cards away and a minute later, when everyone else resumed the task, she got up and left.
I guess I embarrassed her. That was never my intention. She returned about 20 minutes later and sat with her arms folded and stared at the floor through the rest of class. The second I dismissed them, she ran for the door.
The thing is, I remember being 18. Her, "you're not the boss of me" angst is familiar to me. I've been there. And I think I handled the situation fine. But...
Am I dismissing things or people (in my own life) because my own agenda feels more pressing? Hmm.