Circle 1: Limbo

Oh no. It’s Bailey. I’m surprised he even makes it to school half the time. He probably spends an hour every morning deciding which way to part his hair or what blue t-shirt to put on. He must wake up pretty early to deal with his case of indecisiveness, and boy, when he’s in school he’s no better. Last week in class, I gave everyone a whole period to decide which essay topic they’d like to write about. Even Fredo was able to put down his lemonade and choose. Granted, he might as well have taped the topic list to a wall and thrown a dart at it. But, because he’s Fredo, he put it on the ground and picked the topic which the spitball landed on.

Circle 2: Lust

Now, Alice and Jake’s crimes could be denied, but to me they are evident. With their hand holding and note passing, they are truly a distraction to the class. It doesn’t help that right behind them sit Alice’s pretty-girl friends. Boy, do they get going with their oohing and awing and whispering. I mean, it’s only the beginning of the year. How long do they expect to last? I wasn’t going to mention it, but I’ve made some bets with the other teachers. I have to wear my hair differently on the 1st of December if the couple is still together by then. If they make it to a year, well, I’ll have to put on sweatpants for a day.

Circle 3: Gluttony

In walks Fredo, a bag of chips in hand. For once, he doesn’t have a soda…oh, there it is, in the mesh pocket on the side of his bag. The pouch is shaped like a coke bottle from so much stretching. I’m surprised his body doesn’t take the same form. As soon as he sits down, he pops open the bag, and gobbles up the entire thing with a few greasy handfuls of chips. Thank god. But wait, there’s more…boy oh boy, his backpack is quite full. I see Doritos, and Cheese Doodles…and what is that? A burger? Where are his schoolbooks?

Circle 4: Greed

Justin walks in. What a rapacious little kid. Every single day, I swear, he takes another pencil from my communal box at the back of the room. I get them from the school store for fifty cents each, and they’re nice pencils. The kind that say “special edition” and “soft” on the side. I will admit, he is a nice kid. But if this continues I’m going to have to resort to golf pencils. Although, that is an obvious surrender. Oh come on, this whole thing is getting me quite worked up.

Circle 5: Wrath

The beef between Fredo and the class vegetarian is unlike any I have seen before, and I think that any war veteran could say the same. Back and forth, all through classes. Whenever Fredo brings in some bacon flavored potato chips, Janet falls to the floor, thrashing and writhing about on the yellowish tiles. I’ve never been able to tell whether or not she actually has an airborne allergy to meat, but boy oh boy, she’s a good actor if she doesn’t. One time, Fredo wore a shirt with a t-bone steak on it, and Janet went at him with some scissors. It’s just lucky he was wearing a long sleeved shirt under it, because if he hadn’t been it would have meant freedom for his abundant rolls of fat. Sometimes she’ll bring in some celery, and throw it at the poor boy. If you ask me, being vegetarian is fine, but maybe you shouldn’t sit next to the class glutton. Unless this is just an issue of unrequited love…

Circle 6: Heresy

Joe is the only boy in the grade who didn’t have a pair of Air Jordan 11s. I’ve never really understood sneakers, but I do know that a middle school boy without a pair of Air Jordan 11s is not a middle school boy worthy of respect. If anything, he should be excommunicated. The boys are cruel to him, although the girls couldn’t care less. He seems to be quite popular among the ladies, but that’s probably because he’s the only guy who isn’t 90% jock. Even Fredo owns a pair of the Nike basketball shoes. I don’t really see why, there’s no way he could run more than two feet on a basketball court without sweating out enough fluid to make the gym into a pool. Although somehow, he gets away with it. I have the utmost sympathy for Joe. Sometimes I talk to him about his crimes against society, but he doesn’t seem to care much.

Circle 7: Violence

Every school has its share of bullying, and there’s nothing special here. Believe me, I’ve seen some pretty violent students. My class can’t compete. But my students do hold one record that I’m sure cannot be broken. Last year, they broke 282 pencils in class. Yep, I counted. And I’m sure I didn’t miss a single one, because these kids have a sort of a ritual. Every time they broke a pencil, somebody would yell “Hail our leader!” A clever pun, but what a waste. I can’t imagine how much Ticonderoga profits from all the Staples shopping my class does. An average student would run out of pencils once every two weeks, so they’d go and buy another 24 pack. Two weeks later, there they are again. I can only imagine, Joe walking into Staples and an employee calling out “Joe, you want the regular?” and ringing him up before he even brings the pencils to the counter. On the bright side, I can collect the broken pencils after a class and give them to the art teacher. He has developed a habit of making little chairs out of them. I’m not sure, but I’ve heard he’s made quite a bit of money selling them.

Circle 8: Fraud

Then there’s Danny. Danny has a problem. He is a big fan of the copy-paste method, and it results in a lot of trips to the principal’s office. Last week, there was a paper due on the digestive system. Danny went online and plagiarized the top hit Wikipedia article under the keywords “Lower Intestines” (for science class). Obviously, he cut out the irrelevant information, and he also changed the formatting. The fact that he expected me to believe that he had written even a single sentence of it had me laughing out loud for the majority of the afternoon. You see, Danny rarely reads over the material he’s plagiarizing, and I’d bet my left butt cheek he would probably be surprised at some of the sentences in his homework.

Circle 9: Treachery

Oh, Aiden. Word has it that he cheated on his girlfriend. That’s too intense for middle school, if you ask me. Boy, I didn’t even think about dating in middle school. I hate to say it, but at least Jake and Alice are loyal, as far as I know. I mean, if you’re not happy in a middle school relationship, just end it. Anyway, what can be defined as cheating at his age?

“Hey, nice red t-shirt,” says Aiden.

“Thanks” is the reply.

“You’re pretty nice.”

“OMG I’m telling!” and the girl runs off.

Yeah, that’s what I’m guessing. Anyway, you’re probably wondering how I know about the incident. Well, you have no idea. We have eyes and ears everywhere. Faculty meetings get aimless at some point, you know? We have to spend the forty minutes talking about something. Might as well be the student population. Anyway, the whole thing is more oblivious to me than treacherous. But his girlfriend didn’t think so.

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