For a minute, they had me almost convinced that it is absolutely ok to hackey sack in the classroom during science, and do the assignment at home. Because classrooms are clearly more conducive to hackey sacking than learning.
Today, the high schoolers taught me how to arc weld - and by taught me, I mean show me where the switch is, tell me I should take off my ring, and walk away. But after an interesting discussion about why girls never take welding, far be it from me to prove their point for them by backing away in the mortal fear that was absolutely gripping my soul. So I arc welded. By myself, without dying. The boys then proceeded to politely giggle behind my back at the terrible job I did, but still, I DID do it. Tomorrow I will finish constructing my steel wiener dog out of junkyard trash. Maybe that's actually what they were giggling about. But as far as I know, nobody spray painted graphic images anywhere or burned anything down while I was lost in my ridiculous little project.
There are three students that absolutely will not stay in, or anywhere near, their assigned seats. I am not sure how to fix this, other than repeatedly threatening to do absolutely nothing, very loudly, and using their names a lot. The (most) mentally unstable student in (every one of) my classes has mellowed out after a grade-schoolesque time out in the hallway yesterday. The Discovery Channel video of people nearly dying in a car wreck that we watched in science also seemed to have a calming influence on him, which is mildly terrifying. One of the delinquents keeps referring to me as "jack", which I am certain is very derogatory but as long as he is in his seat and not shaking any chemical containers, I will let it fly. It's not a verifiable obscenity, and I have more than enough of those flying around to deal with, along with a mummified cat, a mysteriously re-appearing hackey sack and sketches of me with a unibrow on my desk.
The problem breaks down like this: really intelligent kids with not enough work today, really unintelligent kids that won't even attempt the work, and several straight up, boniified, wait for it - delinquents. The blissful moment that all students are head down, working busily at their desks, only happens when I rescind the no-cellphone rhetoric (which really means that I quit saying "no phones" every four minutes) and they are all furiously texting before my next wave of rule setting. And as always, at least four kids every five minutes have to go to the bathroom. And we aren't even to lunch time yet.