Friday, February 5, 2016


"What are the two main types of conflict?" I asked in every class today.

Oh, it should have been review, but when I posed the question I got a lot of blank stares. Still, there are many brave souls who are willing to make an educated guess, and I commend them.

"Serious and mild?" surmised one student.

"Verbal and physical?" hypothesised another.

"Bullies and friends?" conjectured someone else.

At last I saw the hand of a new-ish student, recently moved to our district from Hawaii. "Internal and external," he proclaimed confidently.

"Great!" I praised him. 'And do you happen to know the three types of external conflict?"

"Hitting, punching, and kicking?" he guessed.

No worries, friends, because by the end of the lesson the vast majority of students knew that conflict generally comes in four flavors: character vs self (which is internal), character vs character, character vs. society, and character vs environment or nature (all three of which are external).

However, at the end of the day, I was sequestered in a meeting in a classroom at the front of the building. When the final bell rang, I was distracted by the parade of students I saw through the window. There was a lot of energy as they joyously exited the building for the weekend, but as I watched I was appalled to see Mr. Hawaii run up to another student, smack her upside the head, and run off.

I wrote it up, but when I told my friend Mary the whole story starting with his knowledge and subsequent misinformation of conflict she shook her head at me.

"Foreshadowing!" she laughed. "Seriously? You didn't see that coming?"

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