Partly due to the fact I think it’s a neat idea and mostly due to the fact I think I ran out of original blog post ideas way back in November of 2007, I present to you all a new feature here at SKOS: Ask Kev.
Since no one in their right mind would actually ask ME an important question, I am going to steal questions submitted to various advice columnists. I’m sorry, did I say steal? I meant borrow. Yes, that’s it. Borrow.
Today, I’m borrowing a question recently sent to the famous Dear Abby.
DEAR ABBY KEV:
I am a high school teacher who has been encountering some problems with my students.
I know I should enforce discipline, but I don’t seem to have any control over my students. They blatantly ridicule my clothing and my voice. Sometimes I even feel bullied. I try to ignore it, but it doesn’t seem to end. The entire class participates and finds it hilarious. What can I do to control my students?
- TRYING HARD IN TENNESSEE
Dear Trying Hard in Tennessee (THIT),
I couldn’t help but notice the lame advice Abby gave you. Talk to other educators? Take some assertiveness training classes? Come on, Abby. You’re better than that. If someone wrote you asking for a good recipe for meatloaf, would you tell him or her to take a cooking class? Or would you give the person a good recipe?
Brace yourself, THIT. I’m about to give you a good recipe.
A Scary Teacher is a Respected Teacher
I taught high school for three years. I feel your pain, my friend. There are many wonderful, good students in the world. And then there are the others. The ones who should be spanked daily by their parents. The ones whose parents should be slapped in the face daily by every member of society.
There is a widely-circulated piece of advice given to new teachers: make an example of a misbehaving student on your first day. By starting out tough, the theory goes, you’re showing any potential “problem” students that you mean business.
With the new school year about to begin, I HIGHLY recommend this advice, THIT. If the school year has already started, this will make your job harder, but implement this strategy anyway. Show the students you are a teacher not to be trifled with and they will refrain from trifling you. And if they DO trifle with you, make them pay!
What you can get away with depends on where you teach, but here are some general tips to show students you mean business:
- Offer chewing gum to everyone in the class. Once the gum has been handed out, begin yelling at the students and tell them gum isn’t allowed in your classroom. They’ll think you’re crazy, which is important when it comes to controlling a classroom.
- If someone talks without permission, shoot a rubber band at their head. Why a rubber band? Because throwing a pencil could injure someone. You don’t want to get into trouble, do you?
- Write “I once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” on the chalkboard or whiteboard at the front of the classroom. Write it in big letters. Leave it up all school year, but never make mention of it. Being mysterious works when dating, and it works when trying to keep students guessing as to whether or not you’re pyscho.
- Every ten minutes or so, open up one of the drawers to your desk. Look into it and begin having a whispered conversation with someone or something living inside it. Close the drawer and go back to your job.
- Place police tape around one of the desks/chairs in your classroom. When students ask about it say, “Oh. That? That’s nothing. Sometimes I just don’t know my own strength.”
You get the idea. Want your students to stop ridiculing your clothing and your voice? Convince them that doing so could set off a raging lunatic!
(Or, if you want real, SERIOUS advice, check out this other post of mine.)
Good luck, THIT. You’ll do great. I just know it.