Thursday, October 8, 2009

That Explains A Lot

October 8, 2009

Yesterday in my senior class we were having a discussion about the day's journal topic. We were discussing whether or not the kids think there's ever any justifiable reason to break the law. As I expected, the students came up with lots of examples of instances they felt like a person should be exempt from the law, due to self-defense, damage of property, or a variety of other situational events whereby one might be able to 'bend' the letter of the law.

I love to try and include as many people as possible in our class discussions, especially those who don't always readily volunteer. I was especially excited, then, when one of my students raised his hand who rarely participates in any way--doesn't do homework, or classwork, or join in the conversations that we engage in. "Great!" I said, as I called on him. "What did YOU think about today's topic? Do you ever think it's okay to break a law?"

He closed his eyes, and drew in a long, deep breath. Suddenly, he slammed his hands down on his desk and emphatically bellowed, "YES! IF I DON'T SMOKE WEED EVERY DAY, I'LL DIE!" The entire class erupted in laughter, but then they realized he was dead serious. "Plus, I actually drive a lot better when I'm drunk, so that should be okay, too." Not a trace of irony or humor in his voice. The other students were dumbstruck for a few moments before I ungracefully attempted to guide the discussion in another direction.

If I didn't know his personality, I would have thought he was saying this just for shock value, or to make everyone else laugh. But no--the astonishing thing about the whole incident was that he truly seemed to believe the words he was speaking.

I think his counselor and I might be getting together to chat a lot sooner than I had anticipated this year. At least before I get behind the wheel with my kids in tow while he's out on the road.

At any rate, his 'extra-curricular' interests certainly do explain a lot about his motivation in the classroom.


  1. Man. That's a tough and honest example of why (I imagine) it is hard to be a teacher today. Kudos to you, Donna!

  2. Wow. It puts you in a difficult place. Hopefully, he'll reconcider his extracurricular activities. Teenagers get that "indestructable" nothing can hurt them. I'll be praying he doesn't get behind the wheel while under either of those influences! Good luck chatting with the counselor.

    Hope you're having a great Friday!♥

  3. Wow...

    Just wow. And totally scary.

    Good luck with that one.