Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Last Thing I Expected

The budget cuts have hit schools hard. One of the ways they're conserving is by reducing the number of copies they run off.

Students are used to "class sets"--worksheets they can work from but not write on. These get returned and reused throughout the day.

Any time I pass anything out, the first question is, "Can we write on these?"

The economics teacher made copies of his Power Point lecture, and the assignment was to have them copy those notes. But he didn't make a full class set. He made 22 copies. The classes each held 38 students.

They were going to have to share.

I made my battle plan. I divided the number of copies by the number of rows, and...

I didn't take into account that they were seniors.

As they finished the first part of the assignment, I started to pass out the notes (the second assignment). When I ran out of notes, the others waited patiently (either by pulling out other work or taking their time on the first assignment). Then without me having to do anything, those that finished copying the notes passed off their copy to another student who needed them.

I watched this all happen. It was fascinating.

The most amazing thing? The room remained quiet throughout.

See, this is not how this sort of thing normally works. I should have had to divide the pages evenly, assign groups, and stand over them as they took their time not copying the notes. And the whole time the noise level would approach that of a busy Chili's. (Have you ever been in one? Man, it gets loud in there.)

Then, I got back every single copy. I know. I counted. (Normally, I lose a copy or two every period, ending up with fewer than I started with.)

These sorts of days I sort of hold my breath. It's great when things go right, but I wait and watch for the one thing that'll start the class going. This time, it didn't happen. It was a very nice day.

How has your week been going?


  1. This was a great story about people rising to the occasion - so often we sell each other short, don't we? As for my week, I have no complaints!

  2. It's been a good week so far! Thanks for asking.

    It almost seems suspicious that they worked so well together. Did you check your seat for tacks? ;) (Of course, I'm not even sure kids use tacks these days...)


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