This past Saturday we had an AP Calculus and Statistics prep session at our school for 7 area high schools. There were 4 simultaneous sessions going on, with 3 different time slots for a total of 12 sessions. As students were deciding which sessions to go to, one boy from another school was by me and mentioned that everyone seemed to be sticking with kids from their own school, and then he mentioned that everyone at his school hated him, so he wanted to be in another session. I don't remember what I said. I didn't know the student, so I probably made some light remark and got him on his way.
Later on, in one of the sessions I sat in on, this boy was in there, along with, apparently, at least 4 other students from his school. This boy would listen to the teacher, and frequently make remarks or contribute to the discussion or ask questions to clarify. It was clear he was not up to speed with the topics, and was just trying really hard. Every time he made a comment, the 2 students near him would look at each other and semi-silently laugh. Every time. And 2 other thuggy looking boys that sat farther away would make louder comments, but not loud enough to warrent a comment from the presenter. I finally couldn't stand it any more, and when I didn't think the other students would hear me, I turned to the 2 laughers from my back seat post and warned harshly, "stop it". I gave the one of the other boys a dirty look, but that was about it.
This poor kid. Yes, he was annoying. But imagine going through the whole day, and maybe the whole school year with a wrought up gut knowing others are laughing at you all day. ... I sat in on another session, and the laughers didn't seem to be laughing at him any more, but maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see. Sheesh, I hope I'm not blind to this in my classroom as I'm up front with a million other things on my mind. I try to make an all inclusive class, and I do have a similarly challenged kid in my class. I need to be more diligent with how others are potentially making under-breath comments.