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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Stop Signal Seminar (SSS) …

Five weeks left in this school year and all the kids already seemed to have checked out.

Friday was the completion of a two day stint in the “stacked deck” 6th grade. This teacher must have pissed someone off because 25% of this class was stacked with KWA’s ( Kids With Attitude) …and not the good kind!

A teacher at break time inquired: “how’s it goin”? I mentioned that some of them were trying real hard to see how far to push. The teacher rattled off a list of names guessing which ones were the pushers.

She got six of them right.

By 11:00am, I had enough of the “fist pounding”, “rolly-eye-gasps” and “ahh-MAN’s” I could stand from one of the ring leaders. I booted him to the principle’s office with a phone call for “disrespectful attitude in class”.

At this point I decided to give a little seminar. I explained that since not many, in particular “rolly-eyes”, seem to be able to read my mood today, I should make it very clear when you are about to cross a line.

“If I say ‘STOP’ and you continue whatever it is that you are doing, then you are out the door to follow ‘rolly-eyes’. Does everyone UNDERSTAND that?”

Lots of quiet and head nodding verified that I seemed to have communicated my message of the day.

Later at lunch, I thanked the principle for his help in handling “rolly-eyes”. He told me it wasn’t a problem and he totally understood that sometimes you have to make a sacrificial example of one kid to show you mean business.

I’m glad that this district seems to have school administrators that help rather than hinder classroom management.

Rolly-eyes rejoined us after lunch and I had to repeat my “SSS” so he couldn’t claim ignorance.

It wasn’t long after when he started to act up and I looked him dead in the eye and quietly said “Stop”.

It almost appeared that he was going to ignore me when his posse, who seemed to be faster on the uptake, intervened and said: “Dude! He said “Stop”! He’s not playin!”

There was a momentary pause but rolly-eyes backed down with a final hostile stare. We now had us an understanding for the rest of the day.

I believe that I’ll be adding my “Stop Signal Seminar” to the regular repertoire, when needed, in future assignments.

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