Friday, September 21, 2012

A Teachable Moment for Them and One For Me.

Today (September 21) is my birthday.  This year I am lucky, because it falls on a weekend day (school week in Kuwait runs Sunday-Thursday).  Amanda has some things planned for the day, but, mostly, I just want to relax.  I still have some work I want to get to, or September 22 will be terribly busy.

Yesterday, I came outside to greet my grade eights as I do every day.  We are still practicing routines and fulfilling expectations.  One of my expectations is that before class begins they line up outside my door in a single-file line and they are quiet.  This helps to calm down the noise before the enter the room, and it helps to start the class on the right foot.  This group was a much talked about group last year, because of the many behaviour and discipline issues that came up.  I only had them for homeroom, so I never really saw much of that.  I'll be honest, before this year began I figured they would still be a tough group.

I was wrong.  They are great kids, and they crave structure and routine.  To that effect, we had to practice entering the classroom a couple of times yesterday.  In both instances one or more students were far too chatty.  I was getting in a huff by the time I had everyone seated.  I lectured them on the importance of our routines, and then I had them take out their books to start on the bell work.  Many stared at me dumbfounded, and I felt like I had accidently brought the wrong class inside.  I asked again, and they slowly started to take out their materials.

I turned to the Smart Board and I drew the screen shade down, so that they could read the instructions.  We were going to do a rapid writing assignment.  I turned around to explain this, and I was met with every single student standing and facing me.  It was like something from Children of the Corn.  And then they sang.  "Happy birthday," came at me in force.

I felt low.  I just berated them for not following rules and expectations, and now they are happily wishing me a happy birthday.  They are kids, they do get excited, and I need to remember that.  I even got a sweet card from one student, and a bottle of cologne from another.  Unfortunately, I don't wear cologne and it is a staple for teacher gifts in Kuwait.  I have five or so bottles stashed somewhere.

As an aside: My grade 8s love the crafting folders.  I already have one student who is a Master Noun Navigator, and several others who are close.  The image is the badge that they receive on Edmodo.

1 comment:

  1. Kids are great, aren't they? I'm always amazed at how many hugs I'll get 10 minutes after getting annoyed with my class (I teach Grade 1). Happy Birthday!! (I follow your wife's blog :))

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