Monday, November 9, 2015

Day 46: One Rule

Everything I've read and everyone with whom I've interacted all seem to agree on something about classroom rules: Make them short, make them simple.
This really should be my only class rule.

At the beginning of the year, I told my students that my main rule is that they are not allowed to stop other people from learning.  This means that if they are disrupting the environment to the point where I am unable to teach, we have a problem.

Today in 3rd period, we had a problem.  The side-talking was getting very out of hand, to the point where the students sitting directly in front of me couldn't hear what I was saying.

I asked the talkers to please keep it down because some people were interested in the lesson weren't able to hear me.  When they continued talking, I lost it.

I screamed for the first time this year.

I'm loud.  I'm VERY loud.  My volume increase with my excitement level.  The kids are used to me being loud.

They are not used to me screaming.  I saw looks of relief on the faces of the students who have been trying to learn in spite of their classmates.

I told them why I was frustrated and they seemed to get it.  The kids who were talking looked appropriately contrite.

So I resumed the lesson.

And they resumed talking.

"Please leave my room."

In the space of 3 minutes, I had to remove 4 different students.  I told them to stand outside the classroom, but they wandered off.

With the example made, the distractions removed, the rest of the class did incredibly well.  They were interested in the topic (how the sun produces energy) and we had a nice discussion.

In 4th period, a student walked in with a late pass (that was signed for 15 minutes before he actually arrived) and immediately started picking things up around the room.  When I asked him to put them down, he told me that I was "all rude and shit."

So he left too.

I understand that people have bad days.  I understand that sometimes, various forces align and ton of stuff goes wrong, interactions are bad, conversations go sour.  I try to be understanding of students having bad days.  If someone needs to put their head down, that's fine.

What's not fine, or acceptable, is the destruction, willful or otherwise, of someone else's learning.  In 1st period, I had to remove a student as well because, while listening to headphones, he was laughing, dancing, snapping and singing.  He didn't even realize that he was and when we talked about it afterwards, he admitted that sometimes he does those things without knowing it.

When I asked him what he thought he could do to limit the distractions that he's giving off, he said he should probably not listen to music while doing his work.  I told him that I thought that was a good idea.  The problem that I had wasn't the music.  He got his work done and did it fairly well.  He was able to answer questions and participated well.  My problem was that what he was doing while listening to the music was creating a distraction to the other students and that was something I couldn't have.

He's a good kid.  I will try to speak with the other students soon.

5 minutes after the last student walked off, a different student (not one of mine) opened my door, poked his head in and said "what would happen if someone threw a bomb into Mr. Aion's room?"

I informed the principal.

In addition to this, there were 4 separate fights today, one of which I helped break up.  The video of that is circulating on Facebook.  Several students came up to me throughout the day to tell me what a beast I was.

That's me.  A beast.

Then I tried to wing-it with a problem in physics and messed the whole thing up.

Hooray Monday.


  1. Thank you for sharing this. I am sorry that you had a horrible day but I appreciate you openly sharing it. I am guilty of raising my voice...ok...I yell...often. I don't put this rule in writing but I often have to say, "When I am are not!" I know that statement probably is against some "nice teacher" rule but it helps me to stay sane. I hope the rest of your week is AMAZING.

    1. Teri, I appreciate your support. I have to say that it wasn't a terrible day. I've had MUCH worse. This one was just exhausting. The students who had to be removed are frequent flyers and I had just had enough today.

      I don't want to have that rule, but it may have to happen.

  2. Tough day / week / month / year for me so far - similar issues. Always glad to hear I'm not the only one.

    Winging it in physics...well, that's where the magic happens! If you can take them with you while you try something that doesn't work - and come out the other side - that's a great day.

  3. (Didn't click 'notify me' on my last one...but I'd like to be notified! So, I clicked it here :))

    1. I'm pretty good at winging it. The problem is that my sequence is WAY off, so in my winging it, I'm covering stuff they haven't seen and confusing them.


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