Yesterday was exhausting! My co-teacher and I were slightly on edge because it was our formal observation day. I co-teach three periods a day, so at least that narrowed it down a bit. During one of our periods, our most challenging student created some trouble for himself and a new sidekick. It was ridiculous really. The main issue was his response to our redirection-- the laughing, looking towards peers for their attention, the loudness and the disrespect. At the end of the class, we ended up dismissing all except for two. Let's just say, I learned about this kid. Usually when I show a strong-this-is-it energy, kids back away from it in response. While this kid's sidekick did, he did not. Instead, he stepped into my personal space and did not budge. I learned about him in that moment. A student with absolutely regard for boundaries.
Fast forward to end of day. Observation occurs, there are some hiccups but none of our doing, the class in front of us is a challenging grouping. Last minute of period, as kids are packed up and standing behind their chairs, a fight ensues. I saw the punch go down and it drew blood. I held the kid who got hit back because he is such a good kid and he told me earlier that the puncher was disrupting his group and horsing around. I have never stepped into a fight in my teaching life, but these kids were sixth graders and of-age. (My former students were upper middle school, and tended to be older than typical middle school students and wouldn't have responded well.)
In the end, I took the kid down to the nurse and later wrote a statement. I talked to him throughout, giving him some praise because it is often very hard to do the right thing. I felt his frustration, but at the end of the day, he was still in the right and the other kid wrong.
There is no place for fighting in ELA class, nor is there room for disrespect of a teacher's personhood.