We closed the homework club today at 3:30. Considering the kids don’t even get there until 2:55, that’s a record for the shortest homework club meltdown ever.
What happened is this:
Basically, somewhere between getting out of school and arriving at our club, about half of the kids went through some sort of brainwashing where they were cleansed of any living memory of having previously lived indoors. They came in yelling and yodeling at the top of their lungs, pushing, shoving and otherwise impersonating a band of rabid chimpanzees. And the energy level only went up from there.
Several decided from the get-go that they hated the world and it was all our fault. One got pissed that I wouldn’t let him flout the basic organizational structure that allows us to get things done and locked himself in a room (sooooo not allowed). Then his friend wouldn’t leave the area where said malcontent was on time out, thereby nullifying any time-outiness. Then, a sister squabble started up and got physical.
And all of this was happening at full volume, at the same time. Plus, our only volunteer for the day had called in sick, so we were on our own. Kids wandered around from room to room, shouting and talking at once. Homework was abandoned in the wake of more or less constant chaos. Attempts at instituting any measure of control were about as effective as a Hari Krishna leafleteer at a Hell’s Angels rally.
Then it really started to go downhill.
Anyway, at 3:30 Sarah (who’s not feeling well anyway) decided to pull the plug, with my complete and enthusiastic support. They all got sent home. No points. No homework help. Nothing. And several will be getting suspensions tomorrow, if they bother to show up.
Luckily, our program director was at the development for a community development workshop and stopped by during their walk-around just as we were discharging the mob. She supported our decision and commended us for laying down a line and not backing off of it. Then she invited us to finish our hours up at the meeting, which we took her up on and during which I learned some cool stuff, got a nice dinner and was even able to make some valuable suggestions.
So it wasn’t a total waste of a day. But given my current stress load from my morning site (read “How to set up a volunteer appreciation luncheon,” parts one and two), it’s an experience I could well have done without. I just can’t wait until tomorrow.