It’s the same starting routine every day. Take attendance, take lunch count, stand up, sing the national anthem, salute the flag, sit down and begin the school day.
Unless exempted due to philosophical or religious reasons, every kid is required to follow the plan. Unless I hear a good reason, every kid is going to at least lip-sync with the rest of the class the salute and anthem.
Almost every class has a clown that likes to go against the flow and act up during the song or salute. All it usually takes from me is a hard stare from my location at the front of the room to get the clown back into sync with the rest of the class. If that doesn’t work, a hand gesture (no, not that one) usually gets the point across. But sometimes I need to escalate the situation to get my point across.
So it was with one 5th grade boy this last week of school.
The stare was enough to get him to stand with the rest of the class but executed with the vacant stare of defiance.
The escalation gesture step was noticed by everyone around him but had no affect on “mute boy”. A second silent request to get with the program was met with a blank expression.
My final “persuasion” technique was to walk over and stand directly behind him and sing the anthem as loud as I could. The other kids were starting to crack up and even the clown was trying not to break character. He ultimately gave in and completed the anthem with the rest of the class.
The next day, all it took to get the clown into gear at anthem time was to walk over and stand behind him while he sang with the rest of the class. In the afternoon, the class attended a school-wide spirit rally in the front of the school. The kids are grouped around the flag pole, school mascot, and principal with featured cheer leaders. The rally, of course, opens with the flag salute and singing of the national anthem.
At the start of the anthem, clown boy leaves his class group to come stand in front of me at the back of the crowd to sing the anthem.
A clown with an attitude is one thing but a clown with a sense of humor is ok by me.