Last week my 8th graders were talking about senior pranks as well as what sorts of things they could get away with at the end of the year. I didn't really think much about it.
"What if we started a fight at dismissal on the last day of school. You couldn't suspend us then."
"Come on guys," I replied. "Do you really want your mother to get a phone call from Mrs. Principal on the last day of school saying you'd started a fight?"
"Uh, no, I guess not." The wrath of mom still holds sway over these 14 year old boys.
So today I was supervising the worship team because the music teacher was away. The principal came in as they were setting up and asked to speak with two of the boys- they're both good kids and one is even our valedictorian. The boys never came back. The worship team warmed up, the classes streamed in for chapel, still no X or P. I was beginning to wonder what was going on.
Then my teammate, the math/science teacher came in with our homerooms, and several of my boys were looking quite glum. Seems she had quite the surprise when she walked into her classroom to start the day. Every single science book (probably about 200 books) was stacked on her desk. They had been removed from the top of the literature cabinets where they are stored and relocated to her desk.
She was not amused. Poor Mrs. Math/Science had had a rough weekend and did not enjoy starting the week this way. Several of the other 8th graders gave up the culprits. She got the principal. Mrs. Principal talked to the boys and made them put them all back, reorganized.
"We have to put them back?" The boys replied in horror. "But they're heavy!"
While Mrs. Math/Science and Staff-Mother of Culprit A had trouble seeing the humor in the situation, Mrs. Principal and I had a pretty hard time keeping a straight face about the whole thing.
Now, I'd like to say that if they had done that to me that I would have had the same reaction, and I'm pretty sure that I would; I'd laugh, I'd say, "Nice." and then order them to put the books back the way I want them organized. But I don't know that I'd be so forgiving if I had had a bad weekend as my colleague had. It did underscore for me that these are silly 14 year-olds who don't think, and that I need to make sure that I don't ever take it out on them when I am having a bad day. I don't want to be that kind of teacher. I don't think I am, but I work with middle schoolers who are very self-absorbed and easily perceive things the wrong way.
It'll be interesting to see if any of them try anything else before the end of the year.