Every Middle School class has at least one … a kid with a sparkle in their eye and the ability to turn absolutely everything into a joke. They are the pranksters, the rebels, the classroom disruptors. The challenge for every teacher is to keep them at least somewhat toeing the line while not crushing their spirit. Because that spirit is infectious and we all need a reason to laugh from time to time.
Once I hit 7th Grade, I immediately knew who took the title of class clown in my classes — it turned out to be a pair of friends who fed off each other. In hindsight, I do feel a bit sorry for any teacher who had not only this pair, but the rest of us as well because it was a class FULL of rebels. Karma did come to rest on at least one of the clowns when he returned to my high school alma mater as a science teacher.
In 7th Grade Revolution there of course, had to be a class clown, and he stepped up loud and clear early on … Spencer Jackson. Spencer’s character is one of the few that was “modeled” after a person. But really, all I had to go on was one incident. In the article I read which sparked the idea for the book in the first place, there was a mention of a boy who decided to put forth some ideas for the dress code — that girls would be required to wear spaghetti straps. The statement was calculated to wind people up and get the attention of the reporter, and it did. With that one declaration, I had my clown, KNEW I HAD to use the incident in the book, and never looked back. Spencer remained one of the most clear characters to come through and I never had to ask him his thoughts or feelings, he made them abundantly evident.
Spencer Jackson popped out from behind some cardboard boxes in the corner. “Boo!”
The girls he yelled at screamed, then laughed. But Dennis was done with Spencer’s pranks. He backed Spencer against the wall. “The next time you get the urge to scare anyone … don’t.”
Spencer put up his hands. “Dude, it was just a harmless joke.”
Dennis frowned. “In case you haven’t noticed, everyone else is helping.” He jabbed a finger in Spencer’s chest. “Except you.”
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