Setting: The school library. Last period of the day, 3:08 PM. School lets out at 3:20 PM. My AP class is sitting quietly doing work. I have a nasty head cold and am feeling especially grumpy/groggy, hence why I’m hiding in the library from the data walks administrators doing their rounds today. A freshman who I do not know logs off his computer and gets his backpack, heading for the door. He shouts over his shoulder to the librarian.
FROSHY: Hey Ms. R, I’m going to the buses.
MRS. R: (In her sweet-mannered way) You should probably stay in the library until the bell rings.
FROSHY: But this is when they let us out from athletics.
MRS. R.: Well, you should probably still stay in the library.
The freshman shrugs, then continues to walk towards the door.
ME: Hey, Mrs. R. was being nice. There’s no ‘probably.’ You need to stay in the library until the bell.
FROSHY: But athletics lets us out at this time.
ME: Maybe, but you’re here now, and you’ll stay to the bell.
FROSHY: But this is when athletics lets us out.
ME: Yeah, maybe when you’re down by the field house. The bell won’t ring for 12 more minutes. Stay here.
FROSHY: Nuh-uh, it’ll ring in like 2 minutes.
ME: It’s 3:11. We’ve been arguing for two minutes. Look at the clock.
FROSHY: (Looks at the analog clock on the wall) I can’t read that clock. My phone says 3:12.
ME: So you still have 8 minutes until the bell. You’re signed into the library. You’ll stay here until then. Otherwise I’ll inform your coach and make sure you don’t go to the library again during athletics.
FROSHY: (Taken slightly aback by my vehemence) Who are you? Mrs….(attempts to read my nametag) H-? You’re not my teacher.
ME: Not this period. But when you’re in the library on pass, you’ll stay into the library until the bell.
FROSHY: But the bell’s about to ring!
ME: (Annoyed with his super whiny insubordination) It’s 3:11 on that school clock. What are you supposed to be doing here? Why did your coach send you?
FROSHY: Working on a project. But I already logged off the computer.
ME: Well that was dumb, since you had nearly 12 minutes until the bell.
FROSHY: (With bravado) That’s cold. What do you teach?
ME: Juniors. Notice them using their time to work. Not wasting it.
FROSHY: I’m not wasting it.
ME: You’ve wasted at least five minutes arguing with me you could be working on your project. Now get back to the computer lab, sit down and at least pretend to work on your project instead of bothering Mrs. R trying to sneak out.
FROSHY: But the bell’s about to ring!
ME: It is now 3:15. The bell won’t ring for another five minutes. You’ve wasted about 40% of your own work time arguing with me.
FROSHY: (With suspicion) Are you a math teacher?
ME: (Unsure why I’m still bothering with this super annoying child) No.
FROSHY: What do you teach?
ME: AP English.
FROSHY: Then why’d you do math?
ME: Classes are 48 minutes long, right?
FROSHY: I didn’t know that.
ME: (Seriously, it’s MARCH and you don’t know how long classes are?) So you spend at least five minutes walking to the field house, taking attendance, and getting a pass to the library. Then you spend another few minutes logging in, do about nine minutes of work, then try to leave at 3:08, so out of your about 35 minutes of work time you actually have, you spent at least ten minutes trying to get out of the library. I’m rounding, but I bet you didn’t get anything done.
FROSHY: Well, I didn’t have enough time.
ME: Right, because like a moron you logged off with twelve minutes until the bell. (I probably shouldn’t be calling kids morons but I’m so tired of students who ask to go to the library and get nothing done)
Another freshman from athletics attempts to head toward the door while we continue to have this inane conversation.
ME: Hey. Stay in the library until the bell.
FROSHY 2: But this is when athletics –
ME: Don’t care. Find a seat.
FROSHY 2: I’m just going to my English class.
ME: Who’s your English teacher?
FROSHY 2: Mrs. D.
ME: I’ll be sure to email Mrs. D. and make sure you got back there.
Froshy 2 looks uncomfortable. Clearly he didn’t intend to go to English…
ME: Are you in English right now?
FROSHY 2: No, but my teacher really likes me.
FROSHY 1: Yeah, she told me I got in the top three scores on the English benchmark last week.
ME: That’s great, but I doubt she’d appreciate you interrupting her class. Stay in the library.
A female freshman walks up to join this sad little group of freshmen boys.
GIRL FROSHY: Froshy 1 could totally be in pre-AP English.
ME: If you score so high, maybe you should.
FROSHY 1: Yeah, but I’m lazy.
FROSHY 1: (Missing the gibe) But really. I’m smart enough.
ME: Then you should take a pre-AP or AP class. It’s good for college applications.
Froshy 1 finally doesn’t have a snide come-back. The three freshmen go sit at a table until the bell mercifully ring about three minutes later.
I felt like an episode of Who’s On First. Yikes.