Monday, February 27, 2012

Nice Try, Sunshine

Okay, so I'm sort of lenient in the classroom. I don't want to be the bad guy. I have a sort of quiet retaliation that isn't effective on the front end, but it's a killer on the backside.

For example, I don't lock students out of my room when they are tardy. I don't yell at anyone. I just start on time (for the most part) and keep on going without any mention of the lateness of students. I just make a note in my grade book and enter those daily. Three tardies are an absence. Come finals week, several folks have their names in the book indicating they have to take the test due to excessive absences and the conversation goes something like this:

Student: But I haven't missed a single day this quarter.
Me: You were tardy--after the bell--on this day and this day and this day.
Student: But I came to class.
Me: Yes, after the bell.
Student: But you didn't say anything.
Me: Why would I? Bell rings, you're late, I mark it down. That's a YP not an MP
Student: Huh?
Me: Your Problem not My Problem. The book says three tardies is an absence. You'll be taking the final on Friday. Get out.

See what I mean? There are no real consequences for wandering into my class late until it's time to study for the final, then you eat all of those lazy minutes one bite at a time. And I have no empathy or sympathy for you. Not an ounce. I have to be to class on time. Get your own rear end to class on time.

But my favorite example of this Personal Responsibility Discipline Philosophy occurs around paper due dates. I can't wait to hear the creative excuses the student body will employ explaining why the said paper is late or incomplete. It's really rather exciting.

Tired Excuses that I will likely hear tomorrow on the research paper due date:
  1. My printer has no ink in it. And?
  2. I emailed it to you. I am not a print shop. I buy the ink cartridges and paper in my home. Why should I be printing YOUR paper in the first place? I asked you to turn in the hard copy paper to me so that I can proof, edit, and return it to you for revisions.
  3. I didn't have enough time to finish it. This particular due date was assigned last Tuesday. That was a week ago. I gave the class three time periods to work on it. We didn't have a spelling test last week or grammar or lit assignment the entire week. You blew your week and didn't appropriate enough time to finish the work. You had plenty of time, you spent it doing things other than the paper. YP.
  4. I don't have a computer at home. This is why I gave you computer lab time. It is not my fault that you played Mind Craft during your lab time. I also stayed late until 4:00 (an hour and fifteen minutes late) three days last week with the computer lab open and available. I graduated college without owning a computer or having access to the Internet. I suggest you get with it.
(It's sometimes hard to keep a straight face, but laughing at students is considered bad form.)

I hope that the kids I teach at the Christian school put some more creative thought into their excuses tomorrow. I'd probably give extra credit points for creativity to anyone who said something like, "I'm so sorry, Mrs. C, but my paper burst into flames as we approached the school. I think maybe God wasn't happy with my work, so he burned it up like that bad offering with Baal and all of that."

Or what about, "You see, I printed it in white ink on white paper and forgot to check it before we left the house..."

Or maybe, "I gave my paper to so-in-so for safekeeping; it appears I'm not a very good judge of character, because he sold it on an Internet website for research papers and if I turn it in now I'll be expelled for plagiarizing my own paper since it's mine on the website."

Or perhaps, "What paper? Do we have a paper due?"

I hope some of them don't turn them in. Can you imagine what kind of purgatory it's going to be to read these things? And they think I'm punishing THEM. Snort.


Christie said...

I enjoyed this post.
As a parent of a high schooler, however, may I just say that she ALWAYS seems to have a paper due TOMORROW when we are out/almost out of printer ink? WHY?!?!
(It's the "Go get me some posterboard from Eckerd's" of the 2010's)

The Mother Bear said...

HA! Murphy is one more busy dude.