Right about the time lunch started, I was sitting at a coworker’s desk, checking my email as today’s class finished up what they were doing and got ready for break. Another student, one of our IT students who’s currently on the academic rather than vocational side — I’ll call her Snowflake — walked in through the open door.
“Where’s Mr. R——-?”
“He’s on vacation.”
“When will he be back?”
“I need my Graduation Pathway. Who has it?”
“I’m not sure.” (I love how most of the students seem to assume that I do nothing with my brains besides store the exact details of what requirements they’ve completed, and what they still need to turn in, etc, etc. There’s a reason I write this stuff down.)
“Well, do I need to pass Business Writing?”
“You need to pass [the IT track].”
I wasn’t so sure of that, but I didn’t have her grades in front of me.
She sat down at my coworker Lala’s desk, across from me, and grabbed a big pile of papers from the desk and started paging through it.
“You did not just take a stack of papers off of Ms. H—–‘s desk.”
“You won’t tell her.” She didn’t look up. “I just want to know who’s passing.”
I picked my jaw up off of the floor. I will admit that I do not recall exactly what I said. I know that I in some way indicated that such behavior was unacceptable — though probably not as eloquently as I would have done had I been less flabbergasted.
Snowflake shrugged and put the papers back. “Will you just tell me, am I passing?”
“I don’t know.” I did not have quite the presence of mind to point out that she did not pass my class, either time, but she knows that already. “You’d have to ask Ms. M—— about that.”
“I guess I will!” She flounced out.
Later, after I’d microwaved my lunch in the other room, I came back to find Snowflake sitting at a table, reading the Vocational Newsletter from last week.
“Will you sign my ASAP form?” ASAP is the program to make up missed time in half-hour chunks, before school, after school, and during lunch. Teachers sign off to say that a student did work for a particular period of time, and eight half-hours are eligible for a day’s attendance credit (but not the work for that day).
“If you work for half an hour.” I pulled out my phone and checked the time. 11:48. I’ve had experiences with Snowflake getting annoyed over ASAP forms before, when my sense of integrity and her sense of entitlement collided.
Some more students came in, and we chatted about life, and the review tab in Microsoft Word, what peculiar thing I was eating for lunch (steamed veggies and peanut sauce. I didn’t bother to mention that the grain was freekah greenwheat, since that seemed like too much bother, and peanut sauce was already a stretch), and You Are Not Eating At The Computers.
Snowflake looked up. “Ms. Miriam, you gonna sign my paper now?”
I shut my mouth on the automatic ‘yes.’ My hands were full of grapefruit, so I couldn’t check the time. “K—, what time is it?”
K— glanced at her computer. “12:10.”
“Snowflake, I’ll sign it when you’ve done half an hour.”
“I told you twenty minutes ago that I would sign it in half an hour, if you were working.”
“But I was working before you came!”
“I wasn’t here to see it.”
“Well, that’s your fault! You shoulda been here!”
“I’m not responsible for giving you ASAP time.”
“Yes you are, since Ms. J——‘s not here!”
“I didn’t sign up to sit in this room all the time and sign people’s ASAP forms.”
“You signed up months ago.”
” . . .” I think she meant that I’d signed an ASAP form months ago, which is true.
“Look, I gotta see Mr. F—- before lunch is over. Will you just sign it so I can go see him?”
“You can go whenever you want.”
“And you’ll sign my form?”
“After you work another ten minutes.”
“That doesn’t count?”
“No, it’s not doing ASAP time. You can go see him and then work ten minutes, and I’ll sign it.”
“I don’t have any more work to do!”
“Read a book. Work on [typing program].”
She found something to do for ten more minutes, and then gave me grief because I signed on the line that she had reserved for a signature from Ms. J——.
What’s interesting about this interaction is that Snowflake is better than she used to be. I’ve seen her grow as a person over the last six months. Nowadays she asks when she wants me to proofread a paper, and she’ll move to sit in the circle for group discussion, even if she won’t participate.