Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ouch! Monday, 16 November 2009

Our projectors our nice, and today I was backing up to point to something that was being projected. Backing up near a desk is never a good idea, and today I tripped over the edge of the desk. (Actually, the edge of the mini-cabinet; none of the desks have drawers, and so they are all next to cabinets that serve as the desks' drawers.)

I banged my foot pretty badly and I went sprawling backwards. The children gaped at me. Normally, in a situation like this, I try to make a joke of it--lecture the desk for hitting me--basically try to save face, move class forward as quickly as possible, and show the children how to react positively when you make a fool of yourself in front of others. But I was stuck wondering how on earth I could do this with students who don't understand me?

Luckily, my brain worked fast, and as I staggered up, I realized how I could express myself in a way they could understand. I had just introduced a new method of discipline--four simple rules and a chart of student names that I keep on a clipboard (similar to what I've done in previous years!) If they break a rule, they get a "mark" (like a tally mark) next to their name. Each mark equals one minute that they must stay at their desk, with their head down, during the 10-minute break.

So I looked at the desk, explained that it had broken Rule #4 --Hands and feet to yourself--and gave it a mark on my clipboard. The students laughed, and that eased the tension and allowed me to move on in the lesson. My foot smarted, but I was laughing too.

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