Thursday, March 26, 2020

Denied Late Entry

The schools were closed last week, so this story is from the geography class I covered the first week of March.

Freshman geography. Tuesday. Fourth period.

The two worst periods of the day were third and fifth. Second period was lovely. Fourth period fell somewhere in between. Most of the class was pretty good, but these were ninth graders (fourteen-year-olds). They're only nominally more mature than eighth graders. And I say eighth graders are evil for a reason.

Calvin was one of those who hadn't done much work on Monday. He did more playing around than class work. So, I was not terribly shocked and slightly grateful when he was late on Tuesday.

The school has a very clear tardy policy. There's a grace period for about ten minutes at the beginning of first period, but every other period if they are late, they are sent to tardy sweep.

There's a six minute passing period, and the classrooms are fairly close together, so there really is no reason for being late to class. If they're held up by another teacher, a hall pass allows them to enter late. And I'll always allow limping kiddos or kiddos on crutches to leave a class early or enter the class late.

Third period ended. During the passing period, the classroom door was open. Students arrived for fourth period. The bell rang to start fourth period. I went to the classroom door to close it.

Several yards away, Calvin was making his way to class. But he wasn't close. And he wasn't running. (And he wasn't injured.)

So, I closed the door.

I went to begin class.

That's when Calvin reached the door. When he found that it was locked, he kicked the door and pounded on it, too.

Usually, the locked door is enough of a hint for the students to know that they are to go to tardy sweep. Some may knock. But what Calvin did wasn't a knock. What Calvin did was assault against a door. However, the pounding was loud enough to disrupt class, so I went to open the door.

Calvin attempted to go around me and get into the classroom.

A big component of classroom control is having rules and sticking to the consequences of breaking them. I have let late students into class in the past. It rarely goes well. Usually, letting the tardy sweep policy slide is a cue to the kiddos that it's play day, and I have a hard time getting them to do anything other than disrupt class.

However, when I enforce tardy sweep, I have a much calmer day.

So, I blocked Calvin's attempt at entry, telling him, "Tardy sweep".

He was not happy. Some swear words were used. At me. That's not the way to make me rethink letting him into class. I felt no guilt at making him leave.

And then I went to start class.

Fourth period was much nicer than it had been on Monday with Calvin gone.

On Wednesday, Calvin was in class a good two minutes before the bell. He wasn't much better behaved than Monday, but at least he made it to class on time.


  1. Oh Calvin...he has anger management issues plus he is a bully

    1. Yes. Luckily, some of this he will grow out of. I recognize freshman behavior when I see it.

  2. Replies
    1. For me, anyway. For him? We'll see what he's like in two years.

  3. Some people always think swearing will let them get their way.

  4. What is "tardy sweep"? If they are tardy they have to sweep the hallways?

    1. I never really thought about the name. When the bell rings, the admins and security "sweep" the campus and "sweep" the stragglers into a holding room to wait until the next class. I guess.

  5. Rules are rules and they have to be enforced. Better to learn them as a freshman!


  6. Ever thought of writing a play or screenplay about a Substitute Teacher?

  7. So, first question is, what are doing with all your extra time? I assume tardy sweep is like a detention? Sounds like Calvin's got issues. Wondering if he's someone that see's the school counselor on a regular basis.

    1. Yes, tardy sweep is basically detention for that period. I have no idea if Calvin is seeing anyone. Could be. My extra time? At the moment I'm watching too much TV.

  8. Good on you. I hope he gets his act together.

    1. Likely he will. Later that week I covered a class of juniors and seniors. And I recognized several students as ones I'd had run ins with in previous years. Yet, they were well behaved. They grew out of it.

  9. Funny how they don't really expect consequences.


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