like the dickens.

My very wise older sister Emily is an amazing teacher at an inner-city private school in Dallas. She has always been quite the wordsmith and I rely on her eloquence quite frequently. The kids she teaches are truly one of a kind..and little academics to boot. She is now chronicling all sorts of wonderful stories and happening on her blog "Like the Dickens". Take a minute to read this hilarious story and lesson, one of many...

"One of the topics that I feel like I am constantly addressing in my classroom is the idea that there is time and a place for everything. I tell all of my kids on the first day of school that it is a mark of great maturity to be able to transition smoothly and seamlessly from a funny moment to a serious moment. In the classroom this comes up a lot. I love to laugh and my kids love to laugh and to crack jokes. The problem comes when all they want to do is crack jokes. No matter how many times we establish that when we are in the classroom, it is time to get down to business, a select few decide that every class period is their chance to crack their little inside jokes and carry on private conversations. I have had this conversation countless times yet was making no progress. Other than the selfishness of only thinking only of their own pleasure rather than the purpose in the classroom, this constant joviality was making them very boring. Balance is needed in every aspect of life especially in the relationship between work and play. They were all play and no work, not to mention that their jokes were getting really old.

One day last week, I had finally had enough. The circumstances were as follows: I had to step out of the classroom for about 5 minutes, and upon returning, my teacher's sixth sense for find trouble told me that they were up to some mischief. If I had had my coffee, I probably would have found it earlier, but in my non-caffeinated state, it took some 7th graders to point out the mischief the next class period. The mischief: an addition to my wall of presidents. Sure enough, right next to Barack Obama was Chestah--a made up cartoon character very loosely based on Chester Allen Arthur (the real 21st President) that resembles the Planters Peanut cartoon. It was the last straw. I gave them one shot to fess up; they did, and I sent the culprit to the principal. She came in to witness the stupidity of the crime and gave him and his cohorts a stern talking-to reiterating that they only have a few short months left of school and that they need to focus and finish strong. Miraculously, those words from the principal opened their eyes to the seriousness of the occasion, and the rest of the day was very productive.

I spoke with the hoodlums afterward, and they were genuinely contrite. It was actually a beautiful picture of how truly restorative discipline can be when done right--timely, fitting, and from the heart. They all apologized and have made a real effort to buckle down and concentrate when we are in class. After a few days, one even thanked the principal for talking to them admitting that they needed it. We all need reminders from time to time to keep our lives in the appropriate balance."


Emily said...

Thanks for the shout out! You are so fly!

Michele said...

You sound like and amazing teacher...You should write a book!! xoxox Michele Larsen