All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Sunday, 29 January 2006

Year 10's II

I knew it was going to be a tense lesson but I was willing to brave the storm to discover what had happened to my memory stick.

I told the class that they had until the end of lunch to either get it back to me or provide me with a credible lead as to who might have taken it. Failing that, I would be writing to their parents that afternoon, informing them that on next Tuesday afternoon, their children would be staying back for a one hour detention. I also told them that if I caught any kid on my computer, I’d block his/her account.

Now some of you reading this might think that I’m being quite harsh. After all, why should the class suffer because one of their members happens to be a thief? In truth, my plan is to get them to rat the little shit out and thereby avoid having to pay the inevitable penalty.

One kid reacted very badly to the idea of an after-school detention and as a result ended up being sent out of the classroom. The teacher who was on patrol came in, tore up some pieces of paper and gave them out to the class. They were instructed to write the name of the person they thought might have committed the crime. The papers came back blank….except for one, from a student who wrote that he thought it was the kid….who had flipped when he heard he would have to do the detention.

The patrol teacher and I caught up with this kid who admitted to having fiddled with my pc on Wednesday afternoon. He then claimed that he “didn’t know my memory stick” was in the socket. I knew this to be a lie, as he is up on IT and has seen me take the stick out of the machine on numerous occasions, to use on other computers (including his) – there is no conceivable way that he would not know the stick was there – particularly as he uses one himself.

I had my culprit.

Of course there’s no way I’ll ever be able to prove it and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m never going to see the device again. Saying that, I’m still going ahead with the detention, in the hope that he keeps to his word and doesn’t show up. Then I can nail his shitty little arse to the wall and get hi big time for not attending a class detention….

When I re-entered the room, having chased the boy, I found that one of the kids had brazenly logged me out of my computer. I got the class to go through a similar exercise again and this time I had three students point a finger at another of the difficult students. He doesn’t know it yet, but I’ve blocked his account and unless he shows me that he’s serious about working hard in my lesson, he’ll be spending more than a week using a pencil and paper for classwork.

I didn’t end up teaching the kids during the lesson. I felt it more important to impress upon them the fact that they had lost my trust and that as a result, I viewed them differently to any other class I taught. I don’t think that this made a hell of a lot of difference, but at least it made me feel better. This is the kind of class who will push me as far they can to see how I react. I need to ensure that my strategy in showing them who’s boss doesn’t interfere with their learning.

On Friday afternoon, I wrote the letters and as far as I know, they’re in the post.

It’s a tough battle but ultimately, I will win.


As always... Rachael said...

Stick to your guns. Kids need consequences. Especially bratty little thieving kids! I think giving the whole class detention is a great idea. Nothing motivates kids to straighten up than having their own peers turn on them.

Tense Teacher said...

Being harsh? Hardly. I've found peer pressure to be one of the greatest weapons in my classes, and I put it to use as often as possible. For instance, I learned that one of my classes took full advantage of my being gone Friday and gave my sub hell...I put the word out with one of the class snitches that I'd be spending my weekend coming up with a really good punishment for the delinquents...Can't wait to see their nervous faces tomorrow.
Keep up the good work.

Declan's Mom said...

That would have been sooo frustrating!

Braddas said...

These kids want to stand out from the crowd and be noticed as 'leaders'. Just tell the kid who was singled out that 6 people had snitched on him and see if he cracks. Failing that, just give him a poor result in his coursework!

YOU have the upper hand in this 'battle', yet you seem to write as though the kids have the upper hand.