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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Worthless Coins …

“What are you gonna give us?”

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this from lots of the elementary school age kids in the classes I sub for.

Some teachers have treasure chests, buckets, barrels of small toys, candy, pencils, stickers, stamps, and other cheap stuff might be handed out for doing what they are already expected to do without the bribe. Even some substitute advice books suggest that we might carry cheap “rewards” for proper behavior.

While I can kinda go along with the bribe system for kinders, I have negative feelings about using it for older elementary school kids. Even then, I don’t think candy, even for kinders, is a good motivational precedent.

So when a 4th grade girl surprised me by asking a very insightful question on the lesson we were doing, I stopped the lesson and climbed down from the saddle of my “high horse” and handed her a “reward”. One genuine “Mr. HOMEWORK Worthless Coin”. (see picture).

The worthless coin in question was an arcade token from a long defunct Bullwinkle’s Pizza place in town. Stamped on the edge it says “NO CASH VALUE” and since the pizza place is no longer there, the game token is indeed worthless. I have a number of foreign coins and tokens floating at the bottom of my back pack. You never know when a five yen coin is going to come in handy here in California, USA.

By the way the other kids reacted; you would have thought I had handed out real money!

These are the same kids that showed up after the Christmas break with new iPods, cell phones, game boys and other expensive gadgets but now they ALL wanted “A Worthless Coin”.

Now when I go to that school and in that particular class, they all want to know if I have any more “worthless coins”, to which I nod knowingly and reply:

“Maybe…” Posted by Picasa


Jennifer said...

Crazy kids.

Pigs said...

I agree with not giving rewards to older kids. It drives me insane to see a sub come into my classroom with COLORING PAGES that she uses as a reward. Coloring! They're TEN! And they have huge tests looming! Sigh.