The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 16 2013

One Last Shout-Fest

Day 175: As I’ve explained before, I have my students do a call and response chant before every quiz and test. I yell “work hard” and they respond “get smart.” I wonder if they actually remember this is supposed to remind them about the value of persistence and growth mindset, or if they just like yelling really loudly.

In the event that it was more about yelling loudly, I decided to make our last time a bit more special. Before we started the final, I told each class something unique about them – something that I was proud of them for.

I told 6A I appreciated how on task they had stayed all year, and how impressed I was with how much work we’d completed as a result. I told 6B I appreciated how much energy, enthusiasm and positivity they had brought to class this year. I told 6D I appreciated how hard we’d worked to stay focused, even when things threatened to slip toward the end. And I told 6C – my darling homeroom – that I was proud of them for all of their hard work, and how much we’d persisted through struggles together.

And then I opened my door. I told my kids I didn’t know when the next time was that they’d be able to scream out loud in school, so we had better make the last one count. I stretched in over-the-top fashion, preparing my vocal cords, and said, loudly: “Work Hard.”

Students responded, loudly: “Get Smart!” I shouted: “Work Hard!” Students shout: “Get Smart!” I screamed, with a pause between each word: “WORK. HARD!” Students scream back: “GET. SMART!”

As expected pretty much no class brought it back super fast from that last one. MB, the king of the loud shout, went on for a good five seconds. I couldn’t care less. I called the office, made sure the receptionist heard us – she did, every time – gave my kids the OK sign, and told them to nail the final. Which, by and large, they did.

I’ll miss these guys. One week to go …

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

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