Monday, July 20, 2015

First Class ticket

Send me to the principals office 
I heard this phrase one too many times over the past year. This phrase can change to:
Just write me a referral
Can you just send me to ISR/ISS

Students are actually asking to get punished. When I was in school this was the last item on my to-do list; in fact I made it a habit to avoid trouble at all cost. 

Sadly, things have changed. Going to the principals office or being sent out of class is not a real punishment. In some cases it's a mini vacation a way for them to escape a struggle.

I have had students ask me to actually write them a referral so they could be sent out of the classroom. The look on my face must be priceless each time this demand is made. I ignore the requests and carry on. One student even threatened to throw a globe across the room. He was doing this as a courtesy for me you see. This way I would have something to write on the referral.
Pre-threat: student asked for a referral to be written for him
Post-threat: student threw a globe across the room so he could be sent out of the classroom
Thankfully, after a day passed this student realized his blunder and wrote an apology note.

One of my 8th graders, who tends to shut down when they are overwhelmed, asked me to email the principal in order for them to get out of class. Mind you this was during a group project.
I lost it.
I asked her if I could be sent to the principal's office and she replied with a no. I proceeded with, "Then why can students ask to be sent out and adults can't? I received a blank stare. By now I had an audience of listeners. "Do you know the adult translation of 'can I be sent to the principal's office is?' Jail, there is no adult principal's office. I can be fired from my job, I can become a burden to society because I do not want to take any responsibilities for myself. That is what happens when adults get sent to the principal's office. So do you still want to go or are you going to finish your work?"
No response, but work was quickly resumed and I was never asked that question again. 

This trend of requesting punishment concerns me. It concerns me that they want a quick escape from any challenging situation. That they are avoiding something that is outside of their comfort zone. And that they lack the skills to properly communicate what is truly bothering them. I am not sure there is a cure to this growing trend other than honest conversations.

{For those wondering}
ISR: in suspension room
ISS: in school suspension 

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