Monday, December 13, 2010


I am a retired teacher and most of my students were 9th and 10th grade boys with learning disabilities and/or behavior disorders.  They often did not want to do their work (go figure).  Normal discipline measures didn't work with these kids so I had to come up with NONTRADITIONAL ways.  For example I had a young man who was refusing to work, as usual.  It was time to try one of my new techniques.  When this student started his regular routine I simply told him, "If you do not complete your work I will sit beside you and sing!"

Well, no surprise, he still refused.  So, I began to loudly belt out a TERRIBLE rendition of a popular song at the time.  I embellished with all the theatrical arm and facial movements of an opera diva.  

This student immediately put his hands up in surrender and said, “Ok, Ms. "T", I’ll work!”

However, this is not the best part of the story.  A young man that I had been trying to coax out of his shell (for most of the year) launched himself from his desk and headed for the door.  This kid was usually overly compliant and extremely quiet ( I'll call him Bobbie).

I said, “Hey, Bobbie!  Where are you going?”

Bobbie turned and calmly replied, “Well, the fat lady sang; so class must be over!”

         [Sidebar:  I AM NOT FAT!  As my mother used to say, "Ewe's just fluffy."]

I could have responded with outrage, but no, Bobbie just proved that I was right about him.  He was a bright, funny, young man who trusted that I would not take his head off (like some teachers).  The whole class, and I, erupted in peals of laughter.

Sometimes rewards are slow in coming, and often disguised, but that makes the one you do get all the sweeter!  (See #28 for another teaching trick).

kt 2010

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