It’s a Monday, but not just any Monday—the Monday after Spring Break. The transition from home to school is difficult. Many students require nonstop monitoring. Like shopping carts with wonky wheels, the second you remove the firm hand of guidance, they veer off the path.
It’s one minute into the day, and I am greeting the last few students as they enter the classroom. But what is happening to the others? Despite the fact that I have met them at the door, given them directions, and have an activity posted on the overhead, several of them are chasing each other around the classroom. One starts intentionally yelping. Several start opening snacks. One has pulled out a jumbo Slurpee from inside his jacket. Someone starts banging on a desk. Another tries to get into the laptop cabinet.
I take a deep breath and begin. Within a few minutes, the Slurpee is confiscated, snacks are put away, the runners are seated, the yelper has gone down to get his medication, the rest are settling, and some students are even pulling out books. It’s calm—for now. But getting quality learning to happen will be an uphill battle (it’s not supposed to be, is it?). At times, it feels like despite all my knowledge (and attempted implementation) of effective classroom discipline, I am playing a day-long game of “Whack-A-Mole”—I just get done with one kid and someone else pops up, and another, and—another. And just wait a sec—there’s one more (got ‘em!).
I love how teachers have to attribute children’s antsy behaviour to something. Here are some favourites:
*it’s a Monday
*it’s getting close to the weekend
*it’s almost (Christmas, Spring, Summer) break
*it’s too hot
*we’ve had too many inside days
*we’ve had too many interruptions lately
*those students have been in the same class for too many years
*too many hormones
And our all-time favourite:
*it’s a full moon!
So what are your Mondays like? Which day is your favourite teaching day? Here’s my analysis of the week, from favourite to least favourite:
Send me your list, and I’ll tally the results. In the meanwhile, hang on to those shopping carts with both hands!