Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sometimes a Detective

On a recent morning, I had to put on one of my many hats.  Forget Miss M, I was Detective M.  

It was one of those days, having just retuned to school after a twelve day vacation, and I turned my back for ten seconds to edit something on the SmartBoard.  While I didn't see it happen, I knew immediately what happened. Or maybe I did see it-- they do say that teachers have eyes behind their heads.  Either way, I turned back as the class erupted with laughter.  That real bold laughter of sixth grade students returning to school after a vacation, no longer newly minted, but offically and comfortably middle schoolers.

It was then that I saw the candy, a purple Now & Later, on the floor in the front of the room by a student's desk.

"We are quiet in 3...2... and 1."  Maybe the students heard it in my voice, the it where they understand that I was not having it that day, because they quieted and returned to work.  "Until I find out who threw this, I will be keeping you all for detention tomorrow (nothing like Fridaay detention!). Before you leave here today let me know any information you have."

Whole class consequences do work, especially when it comes to getting information.  One student told me: "I think it was that side of the room.  So-and-so 1 or So-and-so 2." I wrote her name down. "One of you will be excused for information."

Then I looked at where the candy was and thought about trajectory.  With that I walked to the opposite corner and took a chance when I reached into So-and-so 1's  backpack and pulled out an open pack of Now and Laters. A match! I took the pack walked to front and said: "I found the culprit. You are all now released from detention, save for," I paused to look in the direction of the So-and-so 1, "the person who threw the candy."

I am truly a detective by necessity. In addition to investigating situations, I analyze handwriting (for neutral and questionable reasons), I ask "friendly" questions to gain information and I use reverse psychology to influence situations.  I can tell what a child was doing without even looking at her. I can hear things better in my classroom than I can in general, especially whispers. 

It's important that students see the teacher solve things especially when she didn't actually see it.  Half of the battle of everything teacher related is perception.  Maintain positive perception, and you're one step closer to maintaining classroom control. 

Miss M

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