I don’t want to hear the term “dungeon porn” in a high school classroom. I just don’t.
Seniors will test every patience though, and the ones who not-so-surreptitiously started a game of Cards Against Humanity in class the other day were no different. It’s evident when the regular teacher has no classroom management skills: there is trash on the floor, the students roll in late, they lean back and slouch down in their seats, and there is more than malaise in the air- there is rebellion.
A huge chunk of teaching is organization, when the students see that you are organized in your execution of the lesson they are more likely to be organized in their behavior. That and proximity are the two keys of classroom management. Desks arranged in rows that can be easily patrolled are a staple of any good class management situation.
Last year in an 8th grade English class in the district where I was teaching, two students were caught on video, during class and in full view of other people, vaping into their shirts.
They were doing it so much that other students were bothered enough to video it and send it to administration.
The point is that kids will test boundaries, especially if they are bored and the teacher, especially the substitute, cannot catch everything- it isn’t possible and frankly it isn’t worth what subs get paid. I am not about to roll out into this classroom right now and force second-semester seniors to read their little article and answer their little questions. Not only is ¾ of the class over-large, testosterone-filled 17-and-18-year-old boys, but they have all long figured out that there are no real consequences for not doing the assignment.
This makes a real case for the need for change in our school system. Why force kids who clearly do not want to be here, to be here? Why not make them productive members of society in some other way?
I know that there is value in making young people do things they don’t want to do for the sake of the experience- I get that character building is important. But I firmly believe that can be handled in other ways, and, by making students sit through English or Math instead of teaching them things they want to know or need to know to be productive, then we are doing everyone a disservice.
Students who don’t want to sit in a classroom will be disruptive- adults who don’t want to sit in a meeting will be disruptive too, this is not solely the behavior of youth. But it is the job of education to create productive citizens and that cannot happen if there is rebellion in the air.