Friday, October 07, 2005

A little can of...

whoop ass in your briefcase can be a powerful tool.

Given yesterday's horrific triple period meltdown, I went into assault mode last night and drew up a pretty stringent daily classwork and conduct rubric for each of my students. They are graded after every class, and the student can access their grades in a folder at the end of the day. The headache is that they are time intensive and will require significant periods of time spent at the photocopier. The benefit... I can justify their grades to their parents with quick anecdotals noted on them.

The results... a lot of students in social studies received a 30%-40% grade for the day. By the time ELA class was concluded, the scores dramatically rose to 100%. Not bad; now I just have to stay on top of all this extra paper work. Which, of course, means yet another visit to Staples to devise some sort of filing system. And I'm not a filing kind of guy. My best-bud teaching friend has offered me a filing cabinet that she "thinks" is in her closet. My fingers are crossed.

This morning I got out of bed way early to head to school to make some wake-up calls to parents. I've elected to share the pain. I did the whole, "Your child is good thing -BAD thing-VERY BAD thing- YOUR CHILD IS INSANE thing- good thing-good thing," script as one is taught to use in strategic parental communication, and concluded my rise-and-shine phone calls with the caveat that conferences would be held should there be any further significant behavioral problems.

I kicked one of my students out of class this morning for failing to take his assigned seat and arguing with me about it. No more alpha challenges. Fall in line, or fall out of formation. And that means out of my classroom. WOOF! Another that failed to take his assigned seat told me that he was a grown man and would sit wherever he wanted. Grown man? The kid is 13. Lucky for my sanity, that kid lost the alpha challenge after a prolonged game of stare-down. WOOF! The pack has one lead dog, and he is not 13.

After all of these challenges, and looking forward to a minute of peace during my prep, I was greeted with a 30 second alert as to a coverage. As the bell rang, I was still on the phone with the secretary telling me that they were sending up a class to my room. Only one problem. My classroom can't seat more that 19 students. So they kicked a neighboring teacher out of his classroom for the coverage. The result... two mildly displeased teachers. On the bright side... all this alpha-challenging came into the coverage with me. And not one student dared to leave his or her seat, or fail to quiet their voice level, when instructed. And when the warning bell rang, they all fell right back into their seats when I barked, "Sit!"

No doubt these mild triumphs will be met with some staggering defeats. Inevitable.

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