Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Remember Me? You Kicked Me Out! -- Making a Point

Kicking kids out is an expeditious way to a make a point, though. If timed properly, the rest of the class will get really quiet and stay that way for the rest of the period. At Los Padrinos, one student refused to be quiet and focus on his work. At first I was reluctant to send students out of class, as at the time I was used to running things very carefully, not wanting to upset the probation staff stationed on the side. After the third warning, I told the kid to leave, and immediately it got really quiet. The other inmates noticed it right away.

The second time in clear memory when one send out brought all quiet on the classroom front took place in a history class. The last day of the week, the last period of the day, and the students were getting restless. A cellphone went off in class. I walked over to the corner of the room where I heard the sound. Since none of the students cam clean about whose phone went off, I confiscated all of them. Then one of the students started talking across the room. I told him to move. As soon as he sat down, he ran across the room to trade notes with another kid, still off task.

Since this student was not interested in listening to me, I told him to pack up his things and get ready to leave. He started begging me to give him another chance. Three strikes, and he was out. Security walked quickly by, took him away, the rest of the class sat quietly and on task for the rest of the period.

The third time, a few months later, led to a showdown with one of the administrators. The reading class that I took over, about sixteen students at a time, was prepped for goofing off that day, since there was a substitute. I moved a few seats around the room. When I had warned one young man to keep his voice down and focus, he proceeded to keep talking to his neighbor as if I had said nothing. I moved his seat to the front of the room, but he insisted on sitting next to a friend of his and continue his never-ending conversation. Called security, sent the kid on his way. Right away the entire class bent their heads down in calm unison and continued working.

Ten minutes later, the assistant principal burst into the room, gruff and squat, told the student to sit down, then pointedly fired at me:

"This is the second referral from this room, and these students do not have a record or anything. What's going on?1"

I shared with her that I gave both students three chances., then I sent them out because they refused to listen to me.

"Well," she looked askance, "I don't have any room for them." Then she quickly left, and the students started talking. A quiet room got loud all over again. Even the best laid plans get ruined over an unaware administrator sometimes.

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