Friday, June 11, 2010

Teach them a lesson?

The following story recently happened in my classroom (I've altered the names):

As I showed a 15 minute video on Stanley Milgram's shock-obedience experiments in an attempt to spark a conversation with my students about human psychology, I watched them very carefully to observe their reactions to the video.

As the video played I observed:

  • Cathy was clipping her finger nails
  • Brandon was doodling on his paper
  • Randle was glued to the video
  • Darcy was watching but expressionless
  • Little Gary made eye contact with me and indicated he wanted to talk. He came over to tell me that he had already seen the videos and wanted to move on.
  • Niaomi was sleeping
 All this might sound a little unexciting. After all, this could describe thousands of different classrooms.

Here's the catch... this did occur in my classroom but these weren't my 13 year old, grade 8 students - they were my teaching colleagues during a presentation I gave for professional development purposes.

As these events played out, I couldn't help but chuckle at the irony/hypocracy of it all. At the end of my presentation, I shared my observations.

I did so not in a judgemental manner, but in an attempt to gain some reflection from us all. My first question to all: "How would you react to a student who behaved that way in your class?"

I asked this question not because I was hurt.

I wasn't.

My staff members are very professional and I have the upmost respect for them as phenominally talented teachers.

My point had something to do with it being Friday and 2:45 pm.

The week was over.

The day was over.

We were all tired.

I didn't snap. I didn't take it personally. I didn't look to teach anyone a lesson.

I was understanding.

The discussion that ensued was kinda cool.

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