Friday, February 25, 2005

Extra Work

Greetings folks. There has been a bit less of me up here lately due to the fact that I've been covering on the island for some other folks and haven't had a chance to sit down and write.

A handful of interesting things to consider regarding activities on the island of late. Certain students' behavior has been making a glorious downward spiral and it has forced interesting new social circumstances most saliently on myself but also on one of my coworkers. The kids were caught smoking. They got fined, which is the standard consequence. This somehow turned the staff (first the other guy, then me) into "snitches." This struck me as odd because "snitch" is a term I'm used to being reserved for students who rat to staff. But either way, the two easy going folks doing their jobs became most hated persons 1 and 2.

Anyway, after the first smoking problem event, only one particular student was caught, fined, and absolved of his home pass. A form of guilt and glory-seeking led two other students (previous accomplices to the crime) to deliberately make a scene of smoking in front of staff making a jolly big crew of kids who've destroyed one of our major carrots to encourage rule keeping behavior. This "f*** it" attitude led to the next morning's smoking event in the school house, the one where I became the bad guy. This was all before I began my shift covering mania. (Oh yeah, I also forgot to mention the stand-off on the dock. Oh the stories!)

It was the next Monday to Wednesday where I covered and the real hatred came out and there were the genital exposing events. I might have covered the whole week except that Wednesday I met with some neuroscience folks at Boston University (a great and glorious story I may tell another time.) So then began what may be refered to by some as the week resembling Hell, or "The Abyss" if you are Gandalf. The week could be represented as one crisis after another. One crisis was a student threating people with knives from the kitchen, then an axe in the yard. Then we had the kid who lit a fire of rubbing alcohol in the schoolhouse who upon realizing he would be fined for it pulled the smoke-pipe off of the fireplace and said he was going to fill the school with smoke and kill us all. This was followed by the kid trying to escape the island in a row-boat. All of this sort of petering out into a general state of discontent. One kid was hauled from the island to go to jail. (Another long story.)

A likely assessment I heard was that we have a lot of kids on the island now (8!!!) so the two to one student - staff ratio wasn't getting these kids enough attention. So when each kid would have a crisis they would get all the attention, someone else would feel the lack and in turn have his crisis. (Oh, did I forget to mention the one defecating his trousers?) Anyway, Friday came. I stayed for the weekend shift. And suddenly it was three days of nice, normal, happy behavior. A lot of it had to do with the kid being hauled away. Both the fear of "this could happen to you" as well as his behavior being the source of a great deal of tension. But the weekend went smoothly, gloriously. It was all kind of surreal.