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  • Writer's pictureMike Ward

Clear Understanding

The back story ends with a question:

- 4 students coming in late at different times - 3 phone calls  - 2 bathroom passes (emergencies of course) - 2 PA announcements - 1 student scheduled for special service - have not even taken attendance 

Unsuspecting staff member knocks on door and asks to talk to the teacher about a student and teacher steps out. Noticeably the pace for one is far different than the other. Class is getting loud, teacher seems to be put off by visit. Teacher returns to a squirrelly class, door closes, and the visitors exclaims, "Wow! why are they so mean?"

I have been that teacher and felt compelled to explain to the visitor the backstory. Teachers are occupied by so many 30 second requests that it ends up adding up to a substantial amount of time. Few making a professional request understands that they are one of many. After a while that wears on a teacher who values instruction time. I don’t know a teacher who would not make time for a student; however, the backstory needs to be recognized. It’s a timing issue in this common situation.

Sound familiar? How often does a class start like this for you? Seems more common these days than ever before. Is it my student population? Is technology creating the expectation that "now" is the only reasonable timeline? Our school culture? Despite many of the distractors that are beyond my control, I have found some strategies to address this situation with a smile:

1. Be consistent and clear in your expectations to start class. Devise a simple and quick consequence for those that meet the expectation (positive) and those that don’t (negative). 2. Find a creative way to make "yes" mean "no"! EX. Can I use the bathroom? Sure, in about 10 mins. (school rule).

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Have a great week!

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