The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 15 2013

Compliant, But Hoping For More

Day 153: Does compliance lead to buy-in, or is compliance the best it gets?

Tuesday, we did a homeroom reset. Silent entrance, silent to desks, silent to the morning meeting circle. First warning = three minutes of recess. Second = ten minutes, plus sit in a fourth grade room.

We got to the circle quickly and quietly. We did an activity where we wrote on Post-Its how it felt when the principal spoke to us about being too loud during homeroom and how we wanted others to perceive us as we moved on to the 7th grade.

All in all, it was a very quiet, on-task morning. However, the faces were dead. Low voices, limited looking at speakers, some students visibly checking out.

I tried to reinforce the on-task behavior by telling the class how focused they were, how much they looked like leaders. Some nodding. Some students continuing to stare at the floor. For at least a few students, the reinforcement was clearly working. KA raised his hand to explain why it was important to be a leader. EC shared what the class was doing to be more like role models and leaders. However, these students were not the norm. There wasn’t any excitement in the room.

For now, I’ll choose to see the positive. A day that started with an on-task morning finished with an on-task dismissal. No student, so far as I can tell, left at the end of the day grumbling about what a terrible, over-strict nutjob of a teacher I was. And, on a personal note, I didn’t leave afternoon homeroom with a splitting headache.

I’m going to hope for the best. If I can get students to re-commit to meeting high expectations, and that happens without (too much rebellion), I can believe that students will take pride in looking like the role models of the school. So, yes: I will believe compliance can lead to buy-in. Now, let’s see it happen.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

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