Tuesday, March 16, 2010


What works and what doesn't - Passes.

Many of my students want passes. They want to go talk to another teacher about something, to go to the bathroom, to go get some water, to go to a vending machine, to go talk to an administrator, to go "take a break" in the hallway, or to go to their lockers.

They interrupt me during class to ask for passes. They beg for passes. They get mad at me when they don't get passes and harass me over them - sometimes for the whole class.

In example:
Student: Can I go to the bathroom?
Teacher: That's what a passing period is for.
Student: I didn't have to go then! I can't wait until the next one!
Teacher: Tough. You got a 5 minute break every hour - which is more than any job will give you - and I give you the first 3 minutes of class to go if you need to.
Student: But I can't wait. I'll pee on your floor.
Teacher: (Ignores student)
Student: Can I go?
Student: (1 minute later) Can I go? Why can't I?
Student: (2 minutes later) I have a question. Can I go to the bathroom? Why are you ignoring me? Why can't I go? It's not fair that you get to tell me when to pee and when not to pee? That ain't right! No one should be able to tell me that I can't go to the bathroom!
(This continues every few minutes for the whole class - sometimes mumbling and sometimes not.)

My solution - Emergency passes! Each student gets 3 passes to use whenever they wish during the whole semester. I don't ask why they need them - the can use them for whatever. When you're done, then the answer will be no. Unless you are bleeding on my floor, the answer is no after that. It worked like a charm last year and the students need clear boundaries.

I have a cardbox on my desk for 3x5 notecards. They are alphabetized and each student gets their name one the front. On the back goes the date that they used each pass. After they use the 3rd one, no more. I like this system because it's easy and once the kids know how to use it, they ask for their pass and go get it themselves and put it back for me when they're done. No frills, and easy to use. Love it.

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