Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Classroom

I've been teaching my darling 5th grades for 3 weeks now. I have one class of 17 and another class of 16. One class receives instruction in Spanish while I teach English and then the classes switch at noon. Most are basically functional in English, some better than others. I did my student teaching in 5th grade years ago and just like American 5th graders, they love to talk. On the first day, I asked the students to give me the rules and here is the list they gave me.

1. Respect yourself and others. This is a big one because it incorporates so many things like don't call others bad names, don't speak when others are speaking, be a good listener, don't touch the teacher's whiteboard, desk, cabinet, etc.
2. Be prepared. Do the homework on time and bring supplies to class. I gave up on trying to make them wait for breaks to use the restroom and I got tired of being interrupted for every request to go to the bathroom. So now we have 2 bathroom passes. One for the boys and one for the girls. They just take it and go without asking. I had to make new rules about bathroom passes like no passes during quizes and no passes during our story reading time. The system is working well although yesterday we needed a practice session about how to open and close the classroom door quietly. Slamming the door goes back to Rule #1 about respect.
3. Practice safety. Most do fairly well although I caught one of my boys walking over the desk instead of going around it. He must be good in math because he knows that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
4. No Spanish. There is no Spanish allowed in the English classroom even when talking with friends. This is the hardest rule for me to enforce. I can just imagine if I were thrown into a situation where I am not allowed to speak English amongst my friends who do speak English. It is so hard for them to express themselves in English. Their parents pay the big bucks for the students to go to this school so they can learn English so I must keep reminding them about the No Spanish rule.
5. No eating or drinking in the classroom except water in a closable container. This is an obvious rule. Children like to eat and drink sticky stuff and they are constantly spilling things. I caught a few students in the classroom today with popsicles. I wish the cafeteria would not sell those horrible things. They have no nutritional value and they are too messy for school. I didn't make them throw them out. They were dismissed from their previous class late and barely had time for the noon break. I did make them go outside because there is No Eating and Drinking in the classroom!


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