Friday, November 15, 2019

Just a Few More Minutes

Integrated math 1 (what used to be algebra) for eighth graders. (They expect them to take this class in ninth grade, so these are the advanced math kiddos.) They were solving systems of equations.

After I got class started, I noticed a bunch of yellow passes on their desks. That's when I remembered something that had happened on Wednesday, the last time I had been on this campus.

A stack of yellow passes had been delivered during second period. The co-teacher was the one to receive them, so she passed them out. One of the recipients happened to be absent, so I had a chance to look at it.

They were perfect attendance awards. As a reward, the kiddos were to be released ten minutes early from second period on Friday.

So, there would be a few dismissed early from the group in front of me. I was glad I had seen the pass on Wednesday or I would have been completely blindsided.

At the appointed time, I dismissed the pass holders.

"I need a couple more minutes."

Nine of the pass holders left. But the tenth was still working on the assignment.

It was one of those assignments where whatever they hadn't completed in class became homework. So there was no penalty for not finishing. The students could just go.

But the boy wanted to finish before he left.

This is unusual. Most of the time, when an assignment can be completed for homework, I struggle to keep them on task. They'd rather play in class and "do it for homework".

The early dismissal was a reward. I'm not going to "enforce" a reward.

The boy spent about five more minutes working quickly. Then he packed up and left.

See, some of them do truly care about their work. Not all of them are slackers. (It's just that the slackers make much better stories.)


  1. Yes, some of them really do care. My daughter Becca was ambitious about her grades from the day she entered kindergarten, took honors or advanced classes whenever she could, knew in 8th grade that she wanted to attend a top tier college...

    My daughter Jen started taking school seriously when she was in 11th grade and the college admissions process loomed on the horizon.

    So yeah, I can relate to all of your stories.

  2. Perfect attendance....yep, I think I got that a couple of six weeks in my senior year. I did not like school, I did not like being tied down to behave all day...haha. I was more of a clowning social butterfly! Bet you could not have guessed that could you?

  3. I love your last line about the slackers. But it is nice to hear a story of someone wanting to truly learn and take the time to finish that up rather than have it as homework.


  4. I never really understood attendance awards. I mean, they get sick and can't go to school sometimes, right? It doesn't seem good to encourage them to come in anyway by giving a reward for that.

  5. Advanced kids do tend to try harder. I'd much rather finish in class, where I was stuck with nothing better to do, than cut into my precious free time with homework.

  6. I like this story, Liz. I feel better about this generation again.

  7. The slackers do make for better stories, but it's fantastic that you have stories about the non-slackers. :)

  8. No attendance awards here. Usually the other way around, lol.

  9. I love this. And I'm with that 10th kid. I would much rather have free time after school than bum around the halls for an extra few minutes.

  10. I can't really blame him. I'd want to get it done too so I can enjoy the rest of the day with no homework.

    1. Right? Try telling that to most of the kiddos, though.

  11. Way to go, kid! I wish I had cared that much about finishing work in school. But at my school, we usually didn't have situations where whatever we didn't finish was homework; we just worked in class and then about five minutes before the bell rang, the teacher wrote our homework assignment on the board.


    1. Sub days are days where they're usually practicing something, anyway, so the teacher usually leaves work they can do on their own, so it can be homework. It's different when the teacher was giving direct instruction all period.


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