By the end of the first week (day?), students know what they can get away with. This might be my biggest challenge. In the first week I have so much to get DONE and to just get through. Learning names, passing out important papers (if you don't return this, you will never go to high school) , seating arrangement, schedule changes, broken lockers, lost 6th graders.
So, in class, as I look over all the new faces, letting little things go seems like the easier solution. Okay, so a kid calls out a goofy answer in the middle of discussion. Laugh a little, move on... Okay, so that kid got up in the middle of a presentation and sharpened the pencil. I'll just pause until he's done.... Okay, so that kid keeps whispering to his neighbor. I can talk over that... and suddenly, I have a problem.
This year, from the start, I'm on it. Okay, that kid calls out a goofy answer.... I hold him for a few minutes after class to talk about expectations. Okay, so that kid sharpened his pencil... I use that time to talk to the class when I expect students to take care of those things. Okay, kids keep whispering in class... I stop talking. I wait. I wait. The whole class waits. I make it clear, we don't move on until the whole class is listening. The whispering stops.
Today, I held my first two lucky winners after class. Hopefully, three minutes of my time lets them know that I a)notice their behavior in class and b) I expect better. So today, I drew the line. Day Two.