Whether you’re a first year teacher looking for guidance, or a veteran teacher looking for ideas, this short book offers the most unorthodox advice you will ever come in contact with. You may think of it as an instrument to keep your sanity, a book on traditional classroom criticism, an educational read, or simply additional tools to critique, use, or pass over. Either way, you will surely find it entertaining, funny, and worth your time. All from the proudly self-proclaimed: “Worst teacher to ever enter a classroom”.
The timeout strategy is simply a way of telling your student they have gone a little too far in their behavior and they need some time away from the rest of the class in order to reflect on their activity. For many students this can be a big deal. They may not only be missing out on talking but also hearing what their peers are talking about. They may be missing jokes and rumors of their friends. In the end, they may not feel sorry for their behavior, which is expecting too much really, but they should be willing to make adjustments so they can return to their seat. This is why timeout is usually a good strategy when the class is doing group work or something fun. You may also decide to use timeout during your lecture, but realize, at this point, you are not trying to punish the student; you are simply trying to isolate the student from their peers for the remainder of the lecture so the focus will be directed to you. Therefore, you are using the back of the room to take away the student’s audience. Before we review how to condition this procedure, you may want to think about your next action if the student continues to compete with you for attention, at a bear minimum they should be leaving your room.
If you condition this procedure carefully you will salt away any of the typical hang-ups from asking a student to go the back of the room.
First, have everyone sit quietly and pretend they are working on an assignment or listening to you teach.
Ask for a volunteer to be the disruptive student.
Have the student begin disrupting the class.
Ask the individual to disregard your first attempts to quiet them, but show the class how you are inaudibly asking them to quietly stop, stand next to the student, look at them, snap your fingers at them, shake your head in disapproval, etc.
Since the student has been advised to keep disrupting class, you should at this point say his or her name and ask them to go sit in the back, a predetermined seat.
You could always provide them with work to do while in timeout for example, writing sentences or apology letters. Or you can do what I did and hang a picture of Ronald McDonald by the timeout chair with a textbox reading, “Good job”, or a picture of someone shoveling dirt with a textbox that reads, “I was cool when I was in school”. My unorthodox thoughts were that they will both reflect on their behavior, while also conceptualizing how stupid the behavior was. If you believe this is too over the top, then put some type of school posters up so they will at least get some education while sitting in the back. Don’t ever mention something like, “I would like you to go sit in the back of the room and think about what you did and how you were disrespecting Mr. Dyke with your choice of behavior”. All that is B.S. The student will likely just say something sarcastic back to you or giggle to their self about how corny that sounds.
After the student quietly sits in the back, ask the students to give him or her a hand, and have them come back to their seat.
Now ask for a volunteer to play the role of the educator while you play the role of the bad student. Repeat the same process of disrupting the class and ignoring the educators request to quiet down but you play the role of the defiant student. When the student-teacher asks you to go to the back, respond with a
“Gosh!!” …“I didn’t do anything”.
Proceed to get up from your seat loudly, rattling desks and move to the back of the room.
While in the back, make noise by shuffling your feet or kicking a desk. You may want to even prop your feet up on a desk to show your defiance.
The students will all laugh at your behavior. At this point ask the question
“Did I look like an idiot?”
“Were any of you impressed with my toughness?”
“Please don’t act like this if I ask you to go to the back of the room, be an adult about it”.
From here you have probably quenched any real troublemaking that comes with getting caught, but you may want to emphasize to them that they need to act like an adult if they get caught doing something they should not have been doing, and that, on average, it will probably help them get out of more trouble in their lifetime than simply whining and crying every time they get caught.
Two days before the start of the school year I received a phone call from the middle school principal asking if I was interested in teaching seventh graders. Not wanting to leave my current job, I agreed under the condition that I would work both jobs, 80 hours a week, as well as continue in graduate school. I was excited to work in the field of education, believing I would finally be working with the “educated”. Quickly I would discover that the classroom had more of a resemblance to cattle herding than actually educating, and as for the “educated”, they were few and far between. As a first year teacher, I found you just survive and any bubbly personalities that walked through the door were quickly sapped by their self-defeated, halfwit coworkers. If you wanted to fit-in with the majority of the other teachers, you needed to find solace in pretending to smile, coupled with a devotion to poor-old-me complaining.I was lucky I suppose; I was naturally born equipped with the arrogance of not giving a crap. I kept to myself mostly, or the handful of people I liked, and dedicated my time to making a connection with those I would be teaching. Not too many educators can stay employed as long as I could when they routinely picked fights with their bosses, publish articles bashing the system of education, routinely played tricks on their coworkers (like substituting decaffeinated coffee for their regular coffee just to watch everyone yawn all afternoon), played loud Rocky music before tests to get the students pumped, used every sick day allotted to them, and all around -- make a mockery of the system as much as possible. I survived for two years within this guise; teaching passionately and free from concern, pushing the limits of what was allowed within the classroom, and had remarkable success with both test scores and student interest. Teaching is ranked high among jobs of stress, but, of my two years teaching I can remember very few days I ever felt the stress of those around me. It was fun! Clearly, my lack of stress has more to do with my personality than the strategies I offer. In fact, many of the strategies may seem hypocritical to anyone who witnessed my classroom. I assure you they aren’t. Just as an awesome diet book can be written by a glutton, so too can a rouge teacher, who enjoys a loud classroom, offer you ways to keep yours silent. Thus, it is my hopes that through this multiple book series, I can offer you ways to lighten your stress load and have fun in the classroom.