Archive for October, 2015

About Time…

On Wednesday something interesting happened in my classroom, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  This post might be a little bit fluff and story time and a little less content, but it’s definitely something I want to remember in the future.

So for the last two years, 5th hour staffing has taken place in my room every Thursday.  My room has become bright and colorful over the last few years, and I love finding new things to stick on the walls.  I post student quotes in the form of Twitter birds.  I have tons of motivational posters that I’ve stolen from the internet.  I have bizarre artwork that students have left for me over the years.  It’s pretty cozy, and it feels like home.  I try to keep it well-organized, and friendly.  Some of my colleagues like to poke fun at my ‘elementary classroom’, but I find that letting students play and cut and draw and create really gives my class a different spin than the rest of their day.

The decoration in question, however, was a set of arrows.  Before the 2014-2015 school year started, I realized that I was sick of students asking when classes ended, so I made a set of 8 arrows to mark the end of each hour and lunch.  I stuck the arrows around the clock, and it saved me a ton of headache.

Other teachers had really mixed reactions to this particular decoration.  Some thought it was a cute idea, but the majority of people who spoke up would pick on me about it.

“Can’t your kids tell time, Skinner?”

“You can’t hold their hands forever, Skinner!”

“Don’t they have the time on their phones?”

So this year, when the bell schedule changed, I caved and got rid of the arrows.  Maybe the other teachers were right…  Still I noticed myself wanting to gesture to the clock and point every time a student asked when class got out.  Was I too hand-holdy?  Would removing the arrows magically encourage the students to learn to tell time on their own?  I tried not to think about it too much.

But on Wednesday, during 1st hour, a student that I had last year stayed after class to chat.  He hasn’t always had the best grades in class, and even though he wasn’t in the exact same class he took from me last year, his lack of punctuality and general disinterest in school were part of the reason he was mine again this year.  He asked where the arrows had gone.  I told him that the bell schedule had changed, so my arrows wouldn’t be accurate any more.  This is true.

Then he asked me if I’d put up arrows again.  This is the only request this student has EVER made of me, so I asked him why.

“Because I’m not good at telling time, I can never remember the schedule, and I kept a picture of your clock on my phone so I’d know where to go at what time.” is what he said.

So that brings me to today, Sunday.  And you’ve probably already guessed what I’ve done.

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The arrows are back. They’re up to date.  They’re snazzy, even.

And I feel like a heel because I let other teachers pressure me into taking a resource away from my students.  I’m ashamed that I allowed them to embarrass me for even a moment.

Because let’s face it:  These are only my kids for an hour.  The rest of the day, they’re yours too!

If you don’t like my classroom visuals, just remember that they’re not for you…they’re not for me.

They’re for him.

This young man wanted them back because this visual of the clock made this classroom feel a little more like home.  Enough so that a student who doesn’t always show up, or do homework, took the time to stay after class to request that this visual come back.

And after learning that it meant so much to him, I’m sorry that I ever took it away.

Lesson Learned!