The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 17 2013

Hold The Line

Day 83: It’s very late, and I’m very tired, so this will be very short.

Interesting moment today in the annals of, “I’ve drawn the line, and now you’ve crossed it.” I start class with a clear expectation. If I see a book being read while I’m talking, I will take it. Despite a warning about this before class, within five minutes, EC is reading. I tell her she has three seconds to give it to me. She does not. I ask her to step outside. She is calm there … Until I take the book.

At this point, World War III commences. She is flipping out. I let her come back into the classroom, but the attitude is more than I can stand. I give her her work and try to send her into a fourth grade room, which puts her over the edge. She sits down against the wall and begins to bawl. I call the office to have someone get her out of the hallway.

Ten minutes later, she is back, and entirely on task. Twenty minutes later, she asks to work with her partner in the library, and I say of course. Thirty minutes later, I have a very short conversation with EC, during which she admits a) I was clear with my expectation, b) I was extremely calm when speaking with her, leading us to c) that she was disrespectful when I had only shown her respect, and d) the consequence that she must propose a way to keep from reading in my class to get the book back. She elects to give me her book at the start of every class, which I think is a wonderful idea.

By 7th period, she is popping into my room to say hello. By last period, she is trying to drag me to the back stairs to see a dead bird. We are, it would appear, besties again.

The moral of the story is that stating and maintaining clear expectations with a level head on your shoulders can be tricky. However, when a student can admit my fairness afterward, agree she needs to show more persistence and respect, and then share her new deceased avian friend with me, I think my approach is likely the right one.

About this Blog

Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

Subscribe to this blog (feed)