OK, I feel like I'm just about at my wit's end here. And since I haven't done an INTERACTIVE MONDAY in quite awhile, I figure my dilemma would be good to ask other teachers about. My principal keeps saying that this time at the end of the school year is the time when Master Teachers show themselves, but I keep looking in the mirror, and I'm not seeing any Master Teacher.
My kids act like someone has flipped the switch on their backs from BAD to LUDICROUSLY BAD. I mean, we have our class field trip coming up this Wednesday, so you would think these kids would be on their best behavior. Instead, I found myself having to call parents in after school today to tell them that their daughters had been writing notes back and forth to each other, calling each other curse words in Spanish and talking about having sex with one of the new boys in the class. WTF???
But here's the dilemma I want to talk about with this INTERACTIVE MONDAY. I have a couple of kids that just will not stand in timeout correctly. I have a timeout corner between my bulletin board and my door, and the procedure that I've gone over all year long with these kids is that they must stand with their nose in the corner and their hands behind their back. But for some reason, the word of the year with these kids is "vandalism." I guess I didn't notice what had happened the first time or two, but suddenly there were huge scratches and gouges in the wall in that corner. After that, I paid much more attention when kids were in that corner, and I would actually see kids using their fingernails or a coin from their pocket and scratching up the wall.
Today, I got tired of this kid alternating between falling asleep and tossing his pencil up and down right in front of me during class, so I sent him over to the timeout corner. A few minutes later, I noticed that he did not in fact have both hands behind his back, and that one of the papers on my bulletin board was hanging at a strange angle. He had actually taken one of the thumb tacks out of the bulletin board and was using it to scratch up the wall. This is infuriating!
So let's get interactive here. What would you do in this situation? How do you get someone to stand in timeout correctly without having to stand right behind them the whole time?
My immediate action today after school was to remove all of the thumb tacks from my bulletin board and staple everything in. Also, I covered up the scratched up wall with a few pieces of paper. That way, no one else will be able to scratch up the wall without first going through the paper and making it very obvious that they had defaced the corner. It made me think back to my own childhood, when my brother and I would accidentally make a dent or a hole in our bedroom wall, and my brother would immediately make a GI Joe or Transformers poster to artfully hide the damage.
Of course, our parents weren't idiots, so the question of, "Why is that poster hung at knee-level??" came up often.
Anyway, I look forward to hearing the suggestions of all you Master Teachers out there. Please just don't tell me to go down to Home Depot and stock up on spackle.