Farmers Branch, Texas
“Rawr”. It sounds like the growl of a small animal.
Just quietly in small bubbles of sound, my class keeps saying “Rawr”. Just soft whispers. John. Then James. Then Farhad. “Miss, is this ‘Rawr’?” Showing me their work and roaring quietly. -sigh- I shake my head, thinking, I am not extending this craziness. It might be that it is April 1st. Or maybe it’s because they are sixth graders in the spring. Maybe they know I’m ready for this Friday to be o-v-e-r.
“Miss, where did I put that ‘Rawr’ answer sheet?” roared Christian with a straight face. “Rawr,” answered Farhad barely lifting his head from bent over his class work.
Today they are up against two deadlines. Their Literary Elements quiz is due. And they have to finish their practice re-test. Some missed 12 out of 15, so they are feeling the pressure.
It is a ton easier to “Rawr” than to focus. They cannot get all the answers right when they are not sure they even understand what they are reading. I get that. I understand how hard this is for them. The most at risk are looking for connections and encouragement from me that tells them they are not alone.
“Rawr,” I whisper. I mean, I’m with you. Always.
So. The Rawr-iors are a thing. This is the list I got handed today on a scrap of my customized monogrammed note paper.
Leader: Mrs. Schackmann
General: Kevin A.
Elders: Armando, Alvaro, Preston, Farhad
They refer to themselves as “Rawr-iors”. They work as a very informal, unsanctioned small group who sit together. They want to discuss everything! It mostly sounds like chickens in a coop rather than a classroom.
Mostly being a rawr-ior looks like sitting together and talking. They do all of their work together even if I have said, “Partners only” or “work independently”. They group their desktops together, lean in with their heads bobbing in unison, discussing the assignment.
They all have jobs within the group. The general, Kevin, does not get any more say than the others, but when the Elders want him to “decide” something, they say, “Kevin, say, “Turn to page 936.” If someone is off task, they correct each other. “Alvaro! Kevin said to turn to page 936!” It’s hysterical because no one else is in on it. The rest of the students just sit and stare while they work quietly. Nobody is really off task. They want to do their own thing.
I cannot get so caught up in how the class-monitor part of my education training says that I have five silly sixth graders who are off the rails. The discipline matriarch hiding in my heart asks what am I doing wrong that they cannot understand deliberate instructions?
They love me.
Yet… They are making me pull my hair out.