Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Power Struggle

The scene opens with loud talking in the back of the classroom while a video is being shown. The handsome dashing protagonist Mr. Burk Substitute Teacher Extraordinaire approaches the offending students.

Mr. Burk: Please keep it quiet. Thank You.

Students are quiet for about 3 seconds (as long as it takes for Mr. Burk to retreat a few steps). Several minutes later, Mr. Burk returns to the area.

Mr. Burk: Some students are trying to pay attention to the video. You're going to have to go back to your assigned seats if I have to come over here again.

Students are quiet for about 3 seconds (as long as it takes for Mr. Burk to retreat a few steps). Several minutes later, Mr. Burk returns to the area again.

Mr. Burk: Okay, it's time to go back to your assigned seats.

Student 1: (in a whiny voice) Why?

Mr. Burk: Because you are being disruptive and disrespectful.

Student 2: Just give us one more chance.

Mr. Burk: I've already given you two chances. You knew what would happen.

Student 1: Dude, we weren't doing anything.

Mr. Burk: My name is Mr. Burk, not "Dude". Go back to your seat.

Student 2: Someone is sitting in it.

Mr. Burk: Then you can sit there. (gestures to an empty seat near the teacher's desk)

Student 2: Why can't I just sit here?

Mr. Burk starts to get tired of this exchange and begins to get a headache. The bell rings, saving him from further grief.

A scene very similar to this happened today. I actually gave them three chances. Anyway, I realized that going through a power struggle like this is completely hopeless. Being a substitute teacher you really have very little authority in the classroom. You’re unfamiliar with the discipline procedures of the classroom and the school and the kids know they’re never gonna have to see you again once the 45 minute period is over. I realized today that instead of uselessly wrestling wills with these precious ones, I can just write their names down on a note to the teacher and let them deal with it.

Fish heads, fish heads, yummy yummy fish heads,

Dan

2 comments:

Carterista said...

When I leave lesson plans for a sub, I always ask them to record the names of problem students. When I get back I totally deal with them. I love to curb hard-core kids' appetites for disruptiveness. I'm only a little ashamed to admit how much pleasure it gives me. 'Course I'm dealing with 12 year olds. Keep up the good work!

Mama said...

You go, Dan! You are kindof like the fellow in the restaurant who had three bikers come in a stick their fingers in his breakfast and throw it on the floor and say bad things to him. He ignored them and left the restaurant and they told the waitress that the guy wasn't a man. She said that he can't drive either, because he just backed his truck over three motorcycles! Justice!