Just for giggles, I’m sharing my silliest moment of the day. Sure, there are much more important things I’d like to have brainpower to write about right now. There’s Nancy Flanagan’s great piece on purpose-driven education, for example. There’s author Neil Gaiman’s piece in the Guardian on Why our Future Depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming, which is fuel for a piece I’m writing (in my imagination) in defense of fiction. And there’s this cool review of Teacherpreneurs in Philadelphia’s The Notebook to discuss… but it’s mid October. We’re all waist deep in grading and a million teaching to do’s, trying to stay as on top of everything as we were when the year began. So I’ll share the joke that had my colleagues and I practically on the floor laughing at the start of this afternoon’s PD meeting at school: Classroom Management Olympics.
Disclaimer: About four of us contributed to this list, so I’m only taking credit for a few… Also, I’m not sure if this will actually still be funny when I write it down, but here goes. [If inspired, please add more ideas for Classroom Management Olympic Events in the comments section! So far it’s really only a decathlon.]
Event I: Before class, place some extremely interesting materials that have nothing to do with your lesson on several students’ desks. Spend the period teaching and seeing that they do not touch said materials. 🙂
Event II: Make several fewer copies than you need of any handouts you’ll be using for each class period throughout the day. 🙂
Event III: Pass out gum to students as they enter the classroom. Then run out of gum after about 3/4 of the class has entered. Refuse to discuss anything about the gum. 🙂
Event IV: If students need to borrow a writing utensil, pass out leaky broken pens, or mechanical pencils with such a tiny amount of lead that they will run out almost immediately after a student begins writing. When this happens, persistently search the room for more suitable writing utensils to lend, with no success.
Event V: Modulate your voice inappropriately: conference loudly with individual students; speak very quietly when addressing the whole class.
Event VI: Randomly conduct a review at the start of class focusing on material students have been “done with” for weeks, insisting that this is totally normal. “Everyone take out your _______________ sheets.” Refuse to entertain any excuses for students not having or remembering said materials.
Event VII: Before class, hide the tissues, pencil sharpener, hand sanitizer, and any other household materials students might expect to use during class. Once students start looking for them, let them be found stationed under specific students’ desks, but keep teaching.
Event VIII: Mistakenly call a student the wrong name–make it the name of a classmate with whom the first student doesn’t get along. Apologize sincerely. Then repeat.
Event IX: Use a faulty projector. When the projector fails, fumble to fix it, while still teaching. Plug your laptop into the projector when it is finally working, but forget to minimize open windows that are highly entertaining, or sensitive, but in no way related to the lesson.
Event X: Print out the aim and directions for your lesson in 10 point font. Cut them out and tape them discreetly to the underside of each student’s desk. After you have introduced the lesson, tell students where they will find directions for their assignment.