A tale of two schools

There is a big difference in the number ten, more than I could have imagined.

Having ten more students in a place that feels a tenth the size (of my previous classroom) makes it all the more difficult. Thinking back to Ayers, I agree that a quiet classroom doesn’t equal a learning classroom, but it sure is hard to transition with the level of noise in the classroom at any given time. When you don’t have the physical space to create an environment for learning, you just sort of make-do. The classroom doesn’t even have enough space for students to sit around for a read aloud. There isn’t space to work on projects bigger than a desk. Clutter is an issue. It seems like everything is an issue.

The students are clever, very clever. I’m still trying to learn their names. The students seem to “feed” off the chaos. When it’s time to pick up off the ground, some students just hide under their desks. When it’s time for silent reading, a line forms up to use the restroom. The environment isn’t the best for them, so it’ll take something more. It’ll take engagement to a new level. That seems like the only way. The class is diverse – but using the diversity could be key to engaging the students. No one said this would be easy.

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5 thoughts on “A tale of two schools

  1. “I don’t feel good, I need to go to the nurse….” They don’t even ask it as a question anymore. It’s interesting to see the trend that develops in the classroom, especially in the intermediate grade levels. I haven’t seen it very much in the 1st grade class I’ve been in this week. Just how, clever students can be when they don’t want to do something…Do you think it’s best to call them out on these tendencies to hopefully put a stop to it?

  2. I believe the avoidance technique happens in every grade level, not just intermediate. I’m in a first grade classroom for my primary placement and I have also observed many of the dodging techniques that you have mentioned above, especially the frequent trips to the bathroom or wanting to go to the nurse. I didn’t notice it at first, because first graders have to go to the bathroom a lot and often at inconvenient times such as right in the middle of an important lesson. Once you start to spend more time with the kids you start to notice a pattern with some of them. The math lesson gets difficult and suddenly they need to go to the restroom. They are gone for a longer time than what would seem to be reasonable and they come back just in time for clean-up and then recess.

    So the big question you posed was now what do you do as a teacher? Our job as an instructor is to recognize when this is happening in our classroom. I think that this needs to be addressed and a conversation with the student should be had about what is going on for them and why. Could this avoidance be used to gain attention, because they want to be noticed and need help? I believe that if we let the student get away with it, they are not being responsible for their own learning, which is part of their job as a learner.

  3. ponderinged says:

    I agree that you have to call them out on the behavior or it will continue. You can do it quietly, but it is important for them to know you understand what they are doing and will not allow it to continue. To me, it is about getting out of something, but it can also be about power struggles and testing boundaries. Sometimes students need/want to test you to see exactly where the teacher will draw the line.

    I like your title, “A Tale of Two Schools.” It is interesting entering another atmosphere with different age brackets and testing your assumptions about the classroom, etc. Being in a new environment just reinforces how every classroom has it’s own culture and own group of diverse learners.

  4. […] short, and the idea clear and open seems to also work well. These two posts demonstrate that: A tale of two schools and finding the […]

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