Friday, May 9, 2008

Doin' Nuthin'

I don't usually harangue students about not doing their work. I may ask them if they're going to get anything done. I may give them the look. I may stand over them until they get their books out. Okay, so maybe I do harangue the students sometimes, but mostly I just want to make sure that they aren't so idle that they find other ways to entertain themselves (these are the things that make my days so much more interesting--not in a good way).

I probably wouldn't have even noticed this student if one of his neighbors hadn't said something first. She asked the boy if he was going to work. At that point I felt it was my duty to ask something similar. That was my first mistake.

First I got excuses. No paper (so the girl found a sheet of paper and handed it to him). No pen (the same girl procured a pen for him). No book (that was under his desk, and both the girl and I pointed that out to him). So, he doodled all over the paper, wadded it up, and threw it out.

I had this class for two days. The next day, the boy asked to work outside. Seeing as he had done no work the previous day, I didn't believe that he would actually do work, so I denied his request. He had just gotten back from taking 10 minutes out of class to use the restroom (which was not more than 20 steps from the door of the classroom) and he returned with chips! He finished the chips and needed a napkin, but of course I didn't allow him to leave the classroom again.

Sometimes the excuses just bore me. Eventually the boy sat down, but of course he did no work. Fine. If he doesn't want to graduate, I can't make him want to graduate. I'd rather spend my time helping the students who do want to get done with high school.

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