Back to school tomorrow. No break until Halloween. (The district got smart this year, and scheduled what used to be called an in-service day. I think now they’re called Staff Development. (Sounds like a SPAM header.)
Before we go back to work, I just hafta tell this story (again).
It must have been about six or seven years ago. I had a 4th period that I loved, but they were sometimes a bit jabbery; like they thought we were around the dinner table every day, and they could just speak their minds whenever they felt it necessary. One day, I was getting a little more shushy than I like to be, and by the time I got them quiet enough to get something done, they felt that I had been “mean” to them. This was a very sensitive bunch.
So the next day, they decide that, since I was mean to them, they would give me the silent treatment for a period. Sort of, “if you want us to be quiet so badly, we will…” So K, one of my fave students of all time, and several others stopped everyone on the way in and recruited the entire class into their scheme. They scrawled and held up signs to ask questions (this was a group that was addicted to asking questions; even silence couldn’t stop that), and shushed those who forgot, or those who thought I might get mad. It was actually very impressive. I got most of this information by reading their signs.
However, rather than being mad, I told them, I was happy. Finally, 4th period was quiet, productive, and inventive. The fact that they had to write every question kept the frivolous ones to a minimum, and it was kind of fun. We even had a class discussion entirely with hastily scrawled signs.
The fact that I was enjoying it took a bit of the fun out of for them, but they stuck to it, and went the whole period without saying much of anything at all.
The next day I did it to them… 😉