Thursday, September 30, 2010

Challenging Freshmen

Aah, freshmen!

A couple of years ago we had a freshman with an exuberant interest in one particular girl. She was studious. He was not. He would follow her to the individual, silent study carrels on our third floor. This area is for students who seriously decide they need to concentrate. This boy drove us nuts up there, in his earnest attempts to gain favor with the apple of his eye. The day he was found climbing under the carrels to grab her ankle, a line was crossed.

I wasn't there at the time, but one of our library assistants wrote the incident up in our cleverly named "Incident Book". In it, she documented the numerous attempts to quiet the boy down, move him (unsuccessfully) to another area of the facility, and the push back at having his attentions thwarted. In fact, he was pretty rude.

When I arrived at school the next day and read the account, I called his house. Yup. I got his number and his Mom answered. I explained the situation and she was really, really quiet. I started to read the report and then paused, asking if an email explanation would be more helpful. She said "No, keep going. I'm writing it all down." To tell you the truth I was pretty worried at this point. Mom was so quiet, so intense, and I was thinking this whole intervention might backfire.

Then she asked the name of the library assistant. I certainly didn't want a member of staff taking any heat, so I asked "Why?" She replied "So I can tell him who he needs to apologize to." I thanked her for her understanding, explained that because of her son's insubordination he would lose privileges for a week. She replied "Of course! His behavior was totally unacceptable!"

Twenty minutes later I could see, through our front windows, a car pull up to the main door. The car door opens and Romeo himself comes charging through the doors, into the Learning Commons. He screeches to a halt in front of the circulation desk and asks me where he can find the assistant librarian who reported the incident. It turns out he was home, sick as a dog and sound asleep in bed. His mother woke him up and drove him to school to apologize.

He graduated last year. A library regular. A great kid. I really miss him and hope he stops in for a visit when he is on break from college.

The "Incident Book" has served us well. Anytime there are interactions with students that are troublesome, concerning, or indicate patterns of behavior, we date them and jot them down. A simple thing and even a little cathartic at times, this is our document of behaviors we need to pat attention to and also, potentially, present to parents in an effort to address.

In the meantime, I have a freshman student with a serious coffee addiction. She also seems to think passes to the learning commons and appropriate behavior are optional. Cups are left everywhere, she floats all over and distracts everyone, and she is seriously driving us crazy. Maybe it is time for a call home...

Photo Credit:

R. Cicchetti
CCHS LC Carrels

Flickr Creative Commons
Coffee to go

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Blogger Barb said...

I love this idea! I am going to start an incident book Monday. Well, I will get an incident book so as soon as I have an incident I will be prepared!

October 2, 2010 at 7:20 AM  

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