Behaving Backwards for a Day

Throughout the course of the school year, whether teachers want to admit it or not, they come to develop expectations towards a majority of their students; whether it’s the student’s daily routine in class or their general behavior and attitude. However, what if that were to change? What if a student suddenly behaves differently, or more precisely, the complete opposite of how he or she normally does?

As a student who tries in the best of my ability to respect the teacher, follow the rules, and actively participate, I decided to see how my teachers would react to my sudden metamorphosis into the “anti-Jason Ng.” I would conduct “routines” in each of my classes before confessing and asking for their reactions during and after the routines.


I have my first period with Mr. Ring, my AP Calculus BC teacher. To his credit, Mr. Ring is a very devout teacher. He is very focused in teaching as much as possible given the alloted time. Taking this into account, I had trouble coming up with a routine that would possibly draw his attention. I ultimately settled on pretending to sleep, using my phone in class, and ultimately throwing one of his teddy bear erasers at him.


Pretending to fall asleep proved ineffective because it is first period, a time when students file in like zombies and listen as if they were in a trance. As a result, Mr. Ring was mostly unaware. I then moved on to watching Youtube at different times during class. Mr. Ring did notice this and in multiple occasions had to ask me to put it away. He stated, “Normally I would be upset, but in his case, I was concerned and confused because it was something he doesn’t do. This routine was easier for him to notice because I was sitting right in front him.


Lastly, I threw one of his teddy bear erasers at him, but that failed given how Mr. Ring thought I was just playing a friendly game of catch with him. Overall, Mr. Ring is just that dedicated in giving everyone in his class an education regardless of distractions.


My second period is with Ms. Maroun, my AP Literature and Composition teacher. Whether it’s her unorthodox use of the term “bureaucracy” or her never ending crusade against technology, Ms. Maroun is unlike any teacher I have ever met. For her, “bureaucracy” is not just a form of government, but applies to anything that travels through an organized system. In addition, any form of technology is not tolerated in her classroom; even a quick glance at your notifications can get you in trouble.


Given these circumstances, Ms. Maroun was perhaps my easiest target. I first raised my hand at the beginning of class to purposely question her definition of “bureaucracy.” To my surprise, after telling the class to read their outside reading books, she called me outside to give an in-depth explanation as to why she uses the term the way she does. Seeing this as a perfect opportunity to disrespect her, I kept listening, but refused to accept her reasoning, which made Ms. Maroun noticeably disappointed.

She recalled, “My initial reaction was one of concern and bewilderment.” Knowing how she also expresses irritation towards students who use the restroom during class, I decided to use it consecutively. However, she seemed to have overlooked it.


My last routine was perhaps the most daring and nerve racking. I decided to activate my ringtone and pretend to take a phone call in her class. This ended up being the last straw for her as she confiscated my phone and asked to see me after class. “I felt even more concerned and bewildered. I also felt disturbed,” Ms. Maroun recalled. As I explained to her what I was doing, a huge smile lit her face. She said, “I felt punked!” I was very relieved this was for a story.”


When asked if she felt suspicious throughout the course of the class, she stated, “I became suspicious by the time the phone went off, I was highly suspicious. My concern and bewilderment elevated to the point where I began to question and seek better understanding as to what was going on. This was not Jason.” My final take would be that Ms. Maroun is not a teacher you would want to mess with.


Fast forwarding to the afternoon, I continued my social experiment at my 5th period AP Physics C class with Mr. Barrios. The key to success in that class is rather simple: get to class on time, take notes, and be contributive to the class. Given this straightforward approach to success, the path towards failure was easily definable. A common practice I do in his class is ask to use the restroom. Up to this point, my traditional request went somewhere along the line of “Mr. Barrios, may I please use the restroom.” However, I decided to take a more direct and demanding approach. I just went up to him and said, “Mr. B I need to use the restroom now!” Initially, his facial expression was one of bewilderment as he stared at me. “I thought [he] were sick or despondent,” said Mr. Barrios.


Next, I chose to use my smartphone during key parts of our daily class routine. While we took notes, I even proceeded to change my seat to another table across the room to draw an reaction, but failed. In contrast, I did manage to draw a good reaction when it came to working on in-class example problems with my tablemates. Instead of contributing to the group discussion, I just told my friends to carry on without me.

As Mr. Barrios checked up on each group, he stopped next to me and asked in a serious tone why I wasn’t working. Without responding or looking, I just obliged. In response to the incident, he said, “He’s usually more dynamic in class, asking questions, so his sudden change made me wonder why he’s suddenly giving up” By the end of class, Mr. Barrios remembered how he “was concerned and thought maybe [he] had to check up on [me]. Maybe [I] had given up.” Besides being a very dedicated instructor, Mr. Barrios is a teacher who notices the inconsistencies in his students’ daily behaviors.


My last class of the day was Economics with Mr. Jung. One thing that should be mentioned is that he is heavily relatable to the students. Whether it’s knowledge regarding sports, common teenage issues, or even up-to-date memes, Mr. Jung is very approachable. This played to my advantage because I felt more calm and collected as I performed my experiment.

Our daily class routine begins with everyone responding to a Do-Now question and voicing their answer to the class. Every other day, I would always volunteer to share my answer, but this time, I decided to pretend to have trouble answering before ripping up my Do-Now paper (a blank sheet of paper, of course) in frustration. Mr. Jung mentioned, “Jason really isn’t happy today.  I wonder if I should ask him what’s wrong.”


Next, it’s worth to note that Mr. Jung rarely tolerates students wearing hats or hoods in his class. Throughout the rest of class, I remained uncharacteristically quiet and avoided any conversation with him, leading him to note, “Gee, Jason really isn’t happy today. I wonder if I should ask him what’s wrong.” By the end of class, Mr. Jung just settled with the conclusion that everyone has good and bad days. “I figured that this had to be one of Jason’s bad days.”


Looking back at my actions that day, I recalled how most of teachers associated my change in behavior with health or personal issues that occur outside the classroom. From these reactions, I can assume that teachers don’t expect or possibly believe that a student’s behavioral pattern can change unless outside influences come into play.


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