Note-passing is almost twenty times worse here than at my last school. I can’t really guess why except to say that everyone looks the same here. On a smaller campus, with a narrower ethnic range, I guess everyone is within an arm’s reach or a wrist’s flick of a friend.
Anyway, I see it happen. I’m pretty good with it, esp. now with my projector that I never have my back to the class. You’re looking for the kid who has her notebook tilted back on her desk or who is taking notes particularly intensely during an unintense part of the lecture. You get a sense for who hasn’t looked up in a while.
Used to be I’d just take the note and throw it away. I’d dig it out of the trash and read it later. There is so much trash-talking going around my class. Girls telling other girls that such-and-such ex-boyfriend is waaaay too good for so-and-so who is sitting two seats back in the same class.
Now and again, I’ll read the note in front of the class, except I’ll just substitute whatever transcript I feel like. Yesterday, I fabricated a note where Jenn confessed to Madison that she wet the bed last night and, in her reply, Madison advised her to push the mattress out the window — works for her every time.
Or when I pulled a note from Kelsey and Steven, I read to the class, “Hey Kelsey, I think Mr. Meyer is totally hot.”
If I really wanted to eradicate the behavior, I’d add 30 seconds of after-class detention to the note-passers’ accounts, the standard punishment for Wasting Mr. Meyer’s Time. As is, merely taking the note away doesn’t give them any pause the next time they’re thinking about gossiping under my radar. The way I’ve established expectations, it’s a game for them.