Saturday, September 19, 2009

From "I hate this class" to "I was Level C today, Miss!" in 60 minutes flat

Sammy, a third-year student (in our two-year school) had a rough day. He was doing virtually no work, and, instead, was holding court among his many admirers. (Sammy happens to be a particulary charismatic middle school specimen.) Ultimately, he had to go next door. He did not go quietly. This is a departure from the book, where miscreants own their level B behavior and willingly slink away. Clearly, I am doing something wrong.

Next day, my proud young man boldy marched into class professing his loathing for school in general and my class in particular. I don't know what Marshall would have me say. I do know what I did say. "I love you too, Sammy; nice to have you here today. Thanks for coming. Have a seat, hon."

Well, if nothing else, his entrance reminded me to refer often to what level C/D behavior would look like as we moved through various activities. I remembered to ask students to reflect on their choices, and thanked those who chose the higher ground.

And Sammy? Sammy had a great day. He worked hard, and begged me to acknowledge that I'd observed level C (or D! I can't tell, can I?) behavior from him. Clearly, I am doing something right.

Thanks, Marshall!

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