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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The noticably less than Amazing Race

I had a frustrating day.

Not so much that I threw a marker across the room or kicked the lockers -- but I definitely thought about it. More than once. In fact, at one point, I did actually walk out of my room and offer up a silent Edward-Munch-like Scream in frustration rather than literally kick the lockers out in the hallway.

What has me so frustrated is my afternoon class's apparent apathy towards all things school related. I feel like I should bring in a crate of Zyrtec tomorrow, because my kids seem to be allergic to thinking.

Oh, but they certainly like to race to be first! When I ask an open-ended question, oh how they race to be the first to answer. Nevermind whether or not the answer is in any way, shape, or form reasonable -- all that matters is that they were first.

"Is 3 smaller than 10?" I'll ask.

"YES!!" 1 or 2 of them will shout. 5 or 6 will then do their best parrot impersonation and shout the same thing.

When I look at them strangely and ask again, incredulously, most will change their answer to "NO!" but I can see the furtive look behind the eyes of the front-runners that tells me they are thinking that they're the bomb now, they got their answer out first.

And then I have the kids that like to race to be done with their work first. They whip out answers to all the problems, then sit there staring at me, as if to say, "What else ya got?" Usually, when I go look at their answers, there are several mistakes, but these kids would never know it because they don't ever look at what they've written down.

I would tell them, "Great job, kiddo! You're so awesome at being first that I think you'll be in my class again NEXT year!!" but I feel like irony is lost on them.

Besides, they'd probably like the fact that they would be the first in the class to be retained...


Barbie said...

I totally feel your pain with my 2nd graders.....

Anonymous said...

I have the exact same problem with my first graders! We had a big talk about this today. The shouting of random crap really annoys me. They know the "look" that means "are you freakin' kidding me!." My teammate bought a poster that says "Think before you speak" and it has a picture of an ugly ostrich. Whenever her kids say or do something ridiculous, she just points to the picture because she told them that's how they look when they do that.

Melissa B. said...

I shared a witticism the other day with a class of 11th-graders that contains 2 seniors. The seniors are allowed to leave 5 minutes early on Friday. These 2 had been obnoxious, and I wasn't about to let them go. One of them, trying to be witty, said something like, "It's so ironic that you won't let us go early." Dummy. No irony involved. I then said, "Well, what's ironic is that I'm sitting here in an 11th-grade English class has 2 seniors in it."

nbosch said...

I teach gifted kids so 'being first' and 'being done' is always an issue. I've suggested to some classroom teachers not to let kids turn stuff in when they are finished but hold it at their desks until it is time to move on. With really bright kids having them do rushed work over may help break the 'me first' habit.

Did this blog mention 'being first'? or was it about blurting? If it was about blurting then you might get rid of hand raising and blurting all together and call on people at random. I hate the handraising thing anyway----

Cougar said...

Blurting, and diarrhea of the mouth seems common this time of the year. My poor third graders get to see me the entire day since we are self contained, so blurting out poo poo was getting far too annoying. This is when I go to the Popsicle sticks to see who the next lucky victim will be.

Farnnay said...

What grade is this? I'm assuming middle schoolers, but they sound like kindergartners.

Mister Teacher said...

I usually do the random calling thing (like the popsicle sticks, without the sticks), but if we're doing quick computations, or just general questions, I let them shout out the answer.
We had been talking about length, and I was trying to get them to see that 31 inches was less than 26 feet (once again emphasizing how doggone important UNITS are). I have a yardstick taped to my whiteboard, so I held my hands up about 31 inches apart and said "THIS is 31 inches! 26 feet is about how long this whole wall is! Is THIS (again holding my hands 31 inches apart) longer than this whole wall??"

"YES!!" they shouted with enthusiasm, as my hope in the future died a slow death.

Oh, and CA, these are 3rd graders...

Anonymous said...

You know you can't expect them to act mature, they're just little kids. You talk about them like you have a subconscious hatred towards them. You decided to be a grade school teacher so you should know how to cope with their childish ways of trying to be cool and attracting attention towards themselves. If you can't handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
BTW I'm a high school student, and you spelled noticeably wrong. there's an E in it. haha i think somebody should be teaching you how to spell.

Mister Teacher said...

Anonymous, you're right. I hadn't noticed that I got noticeably wrong, so thanks for putting me on notice.

And let's think this through before accusing me of underlying hatred. I'm sure your parents have gotten frustrated with you many times in your life and complained about bad habits you may have had. Does this mean they feel hatred towards you? Of course not! I don't have any hatred for my kids, just frustration from time to time. BIG difference.

Thanks for commenting, by the way. Nice to see kids in school keeping up with educational websites. :)

Anonymous said...

Your blog is outstanding! Here is the url of the blog from the archives of the Sandusky Library, if you would like to take a look: