In our "professional development" today, we were discussing strategies to help our kids stay focused, engaged, and interested in learning. One teacher suggested that we keep a section of a board for the kids' "burning questions"--good questions they have but that you don't have the chance to get to at that exact moment. Naturally, I immediately began my own list in my notebook--yeah, you heard me right, I took notes. Here they are:
When discussing our current tardy epidemic, one teacher pointed out that the students leisurely herd from one place to another, to which our principal responded:
"If we saw them conjugating in the hallways, we're going to tell them to keep moving to their next class."
Burning question: Do you have any idea how many egregious errors that terrible sentence contains?
When asked how we, as teachers and professionals, should react to this issue, we were told this:
"Pound on them with words to get them moving."
Burning question: So you want us to verbally abuse and assault our students when they don't walk as fast as we want them to walk?
Another teacher asked what was going to happen to the students we were all writing referrals for all the time. The answer?
"When these demerits start hittin'..."
Burning question: W.T.F. It's mid-February, and we're still waiting for the demerits to accrue?!
One teacher interjected that "This plan doesn't seem to be working, so what's plan B?"
What was she told?
"We're going to continue to do it."
Burning question: Sorry this is a repeat for you, but what is plan B?!
A teacher brought up a 'chronic skipper'. What is being done about her serious problem with skipping classes? Are you dealing with this in the office?
The Man: "Yeah, we're dealing with it. Ms. Secretary, how did we deal with TW today?"
The Secretary: "Uhhh...."
Burning question: Seriously though, is anything even remotely resembling discipline happening in that front office?
One student hasn't been back to class in a few days (he had been in trouble and was sent to the office the last time we saw him). We inquired as to his whereabouts.
"I'll deal with him when I get ready--when I have time to deal with him"
Burning question: So until you feel like it, he's just going to continue missing class?
"What about the students who sit down at lunch and talk without eating, and then when it's time to go, they stay and say they didn't get enough time to eat?"
"They are discipline problems. They need to see the assistant principal or me so we can talk about whether or not they should be in school."
Burning question(s): So you're saying the kids who spend a little too long socializing during lunch are worse than the ones who storm out of class in a fit of profanity? Oh yeah, and didn't you just say that no more than ten kids should ever be suspended at a time? Yes, the lunchtime socializers are obviously the ones in need of severe disciplinary measures.
We inquired as to a common problem with the attendance system.
"I'm still working on mine's. I haven't saved mine's yet."
Burning question: How the heck to you expect the kids to learn to read, write, and speak proper English when yours is so atrocious?
Great success! As you can clearly tell, I was attentive and engaged the entire lesson. This "burning questions" thing really must work!!