Thursday, November 19, 2009

Them's the Breaks

The other day, totally unbeknownst to me, I dropped my phone in the hallway of my school. A student stopped me and pointed out what happened. I thanked him and said, "I owe you one."

No problem, right? Well, not exactly. This student happens to be one of those kids who is always late, hanging out in the hallways and talking to girls. When there are no girls around, he just wanders until someone ushers him into class. Few teachers do that, because he's a big kid. It seems that the larger the student, the fewer teachers there are who want to move them along. It's never bothered me much.

Until now, of course. I owed him one. Today, he was cruising the hallways, late as usual, and I just nodded and watched him amble off to class. So I figure we are now even. Tomorrow, I'll go back to my usual self and yell at him to get a move on.

It got me thinking. As teachers, we often tend to give breaks to certain students. I know that I sometimes let missing homeworks slide for a day when my "good" kids forget, because, well, they're good kids and everyone is entitled to a mistake once in a while. Unless they are "bad" kids, in which case they get a letter home the very same day.

So, what's your deal? Who gets favored treatment from you? (Oh, come on--you know you do it. We all do.)


NYC Educator said...

Kids who work hard get great recommendation letters from me. I feel privileged to help out kids like that. And I will overlook a missed homework out of thirty, but not thirty missed homeworks. However, I won't send a letter home. I'll call, as it's more immediate, inconvenient, and tougher to tear up and throw in the trash or forge a signature to.

Ms. NoExcuses said...

Kids that work hard all the time and mess up once definitely get a break from me. Honestly, it's the ones that are intelligent (and we are both well aware of this), but choose to talk through class and blatantly disregard the multiple ways I give them advanced access to a calendar of due dates, online grades, rubrics, and resources - it's those kids I have no patience with. My school even utilizes a mass calling system (school messenger) so I can call 155 kids at once AND I can mass email all of my students and parents with a simple click - so I do! (Handwritten letters and personal calls cannot happen when you are a teacher who also has to do the job of a literacy coach and data analysis team - never mind parenting and psychotherapy.)

I have a huge sign on my desk that reads, "Excuses Stop Here."

Unless of course, you're quiet and do well 95% of the time and you don't rudely talk over me in class...