Day One. Year 24. Really? Already?
As I said awhile back, we have a lot of noob and semi-noob teachers this year. ALSO one of the things our management wants to emphasize this year is that ever-popular student/school “connection.” So it seems we have a lot of people beginning the year with “team-building activities” and “getting-to-know-you exercises” and “interest surveys.” I even saw one of those pernicious “what-kind-of-learner-are-you” questionnaires in the left-in-the-copier pile.
I am glad nobody asked the new English department head (more on that later!) because I would have had nothing for them. As I told the new batch of kids today:
“I don’t really do that sort of thing. I’d rather start the year by demonstrating the routine of the class and showing you what you’re in for. We’re going to be together for 180 days. We’ll get to know each other just fine. It might take me a while to learn names though; you guys only have 6 or 8 or 10 of us to learn, I have 150 of you. I will give you a dollar if I get your name wrong after Halloween.”
And we’re off. It’s Monday, so we copy the homework. We pass out the vocab list and go over it. Then we have a warm up. We collaborate on it in our groups. We correct it. Just like every other day. The sooner we get into the routine the better.
It turns out, some of the kids appreciate that. At the end of the day I had several kids do the mechanical “thank you” as they were leaving. It’s been a fad around here the last couple of years. At the end of the period, as people are leaving, I’ll get this chorus of :
“Thank you. Thank you Mr. Coward.”
Thank you for what? I don’t know about you, but after awhile that sorta bugs. It sounds so perfunctory. Kind of like when they say “I’m sorry.”
So today after 6th period I actually said it.
“Thank you for what?”
After a pause, I actually got some answers.
“Thanks for being cool.” (Hahaha. That won’t last.)
“Thank you for being funny.” (You guys provide a lot of material.)
But my fave answer came from a group of four or five:
“This was the only class today where we actually did any work! Thank you! It wasn’t boring.”