Number - 33

It is really starting to feel like we need a vacation. This is the time of year when I do not dare ask students the question, “Have you lost your minds?” because they are likely to respond, “Why, yes we have!” with a nod and a bemused smile. SERIOUSLY! Each class has it’s own rhythm.  Mine starts the week with a roar, mellows by mid-week, and starts to rev-up again as the week winds down. My co-worker’s class is somnolent on Mondays. I will just share a couple things I’m doing now to make it all better.

NO COUNTDOWNS EVER! My students asked why I didn’t have a countdown to summer vacation. I told them I thought it was unprofessional. I don’t mind the idea of the kids counting down so much (for pete’s sake they’re 12 years old, of course they’re looking forward to summer!), but I told them I thought it was unprofessional for me to be looking forward to not doing my job in front of the folks (them) that I work with. I may let them keep a countdown after Open House next week, but I find that countdowns do me no good. Also, this year has flown by, and almost didn’t notice we were getting down to the final six weeks I was on a such a groove by Spring.

If you can’t say something nice…maybe you do need a vacation, but things will go a lot smoother if you do. When chaos reigns, and things are seemingly going to heck in a hand-basket, that is exactly the time to focus on the positive. Find the kids who are behaving, and thank them for staying on task. When you class miscreant shows a sign of improvement let ’em know (“Timmy, you went a WHOLE day without going to the office, way to go!”) Yes, you’ll have to contact some parents about their kids at this time of year, but they don’t have to all be negative or disciplinary. I had one child begging me not to call a parent. He’d been doing much better, so I told him he didn’t have anything to worry about. I sent his parents an email telling how much better he was doing. This cemented his improved behavior because he knew I had recognized what he was doing, and it was having a positive pay-off.

Let’s get physical! At this time, the 12 year olds literally can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. I was observing the boys doing the “guy-hug” where they hook an arm around the others neck. It’s more like a wrestling move than affectionate, but it fits with the age. I’m doing Dodgeball, Infection Tag, and they play plenty of kickball. My afternoons that are broken up by a play break run a lot smoother.

For some other really great suggestions, read Larry Ferlazzo’s column at EdWeek.  My own contributions will be featured in next week’s installment.

Number – 33 by szczel, on Flickr

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