Seriously I hope this unseasonably warm weather catches cancer of the elbow and dies. Not even my most interesting stuff can compete on these terms.
It would not disappoint me in the least if our seven-day forecast looked like this:
So, I’m elevating my second period to yellow alert. I realize there are only three or four student leaders taking the class towards this state of outright laziness and flagrant disrespect but the rest of the class is led along far too willingly.
So what do you do here? Maybe you keep ’em after the bell. Maybe you call home. Maybe you punish ’em with a quiz when they’re out of line
Well here’s my playbook and not even a student peeking in will circumvent it, such is its power.
Dismantle the miscellaneous fun, piece by piece.
What I’m Not Saying
I’m not saying that I’ll give them substandard material, that I’ll give my other classes the interesting cup-stacking activity and punish these kids with lousy learning.
What I’m saying is that, daily, throughout the year, I’ve put money into an insurance policy.
The policy has cost me:
- A greeting at the door for each student. 0 Minutes
Since class time hasn’t yet commenced..
- A fun question on the opener. 2 Minutes. Today’s was, “What is the average toll to pass through the Panama Canal?” Something just a little interesting, slightly strange, and off-topic enough to matter.
- An interesting photoset from the “intertubes
Intentional butchering of “internet” optional, but guaranteed mocking laughter..” 1 minute. Some kitty wigs just, uh, for one example.
- An interesting video from the internets. 3 minutes. Something provocative and fun. Like Amy Walker’s 21 Accents in 2.5 Minutes.
We’re talking 6 minutes per day, 15 minutes over a 300-minute week. Ain’t nothin’, especially balanced against a) the discussions we’ve had over some of this miscellany, b) how much better we relate to each other once they get that I’m not exclusively about the math, and c) most relevantly here, the insurance policy I have for classroom management emergencies.
So I’ll just yank ’em out one-by-one
They’ll ask why and — careful here — I won’t rub the reason in their faces. I won’t wag my finger, cluck my tongue, or pack ’em on a guilt trip.
I’ll claim with an earnest grimace that we just don’t have time for the fun anymore given how much time I spend pressing them into work which their peers from my other classes commit to willingly.
I mean, I’ll really sell my own regret. It’s legitimate. Sorry, guys. We just can’t do it.
This insurance policy lifts the burden of guilt off the student and puts it 100% on the behavior. Students hate the suggestion (however deserved) that they need to change themselves but they’ll willingly change their behavior to get what they want.
So gimme a week
Or six minutes.
Having stood outside every day the last seven months, rain, shine, or whatever, sayin’ hello, when I wasn’t out there yesterday, kids knew I was serious.
Not sayin’ it was all perfect after that. But all it’s gonna take is, like, two more days of this kind of sobriety. Then we have a good day and I’ll release a little bit of the good.