Yesterday I ran into one of my second hour boys in the hallway.
He was visibly upset, so I stopped him and asked him what was wrong.
He started crying.
The day before, I had escorted him to In School Suspension (ISS) at the end of my class because he the attendance record showed he was assigned there for the day...but I wanted him to stay in my class first.
He was not happy about going to ISS. He kept muttering he didn't know what he did.
"They said I missed a detention, but I don't know what I got that for or when it was."
I made him go anyway, saying "Better today after second hour, than later today plus another day."
Yesterday, when I asked what was wrong, he said "They said I got three more days in ISS and I can't do it, it's so BORING."
That was when the tears started.
And I feel his frustration. He deserves ISS, no doubt. But it has taken months for all his tardies to finally catch up with him.
Can we blame him for thinking that being late isn't a big deal?
I can't. I can only help him cope with his reality: he has three days of ISS.
I told him he would be ok and I knew he could make it through the day. He said he couldn't.
At that point, I pulled close next to him and said "Look, you will be ok, I promise. You can use the day to read ahead in our novel. I promise not to tell anyone you like it and you can get ahead and then have time in class to slack off."
He nodded sourly.
I continued "Plus, look, Coach (the ISS teacher) is a really interesting dude, like he knows some stuff. You can ask him about life and being successful and he will lay it out for you."
He shrugged, but the tears stopped and he looked ever so slightly less miserable.
I sent him on his way and sent an email to Coach to make sure he made it there (He did).
In my email, I told Coach my assessment of this young man: He is a grumpy little dude, but he has a good heart, he wants to do well (though he doesn't want anyone to know it), and he has good taste in friends.
I also told Coach that I suggested this kid really talk to him. As I told Coach, I suspect he lacks strong make role models.
This morning, I popped into ISS to see how his day went.
Coach told me he chose a seat right up front and read pretty much all day. He also said this was the first time this young man had been in ISS and didn't think he would see him again.
How adorable is that?
Because this kid, is a GRUMPY LITTLE DUDE. He has the same negative affect when he is complaining as when he is asking a question about how to turn in his completed project.
Honestly, this was the most emotion I have seen from him all year.
I was proud of him for making through the day and it kind of warmed my heart that something as mild as a couple of days of ISS got him so very bent out of shape.
When consequences are delayed too long, they stop making sense.
When a kid accepts those consequences anyway and makes good choices about how to use his time, well that is good thing.
It made me smile to hear he "survived" after all.