Saturday, January 25, 2014

No One's Perfect

I am almost never late to class. This works well for me as I'm tough on kids who repeatedly show up late. I'm usually able to enforce this pretty well. For example, when kids from some classroom insist that it is impossible to make it to the trailer on time from wherever they are in the building, I tend to find out where they are coming from, show up at the end of that period, and make that long adventurous trek to the trailer alongside them. Invariably we make it on time.

Kids are late because they can be late. If I allowed them to be late, some kids would be late every day. After all, there are important contacts to be made in the hallways, things that must be said, and hairdos and clothing that must be seen. But if you call their homes enough times, it's often so inconvenient for kids to show late to your class that they show late to someone else's class instead.

Now, in fairness, everyone is late sometimes. There are really no consequences for occasional lateness other than a look or remark from me. But, in fairness, even teachers are late sometimes. In fact, last week, I was in a rush to drop off a paper somewhere, and I walked into my own trailer moments after the bell rang.

The kids were having none of it. No excuse would satisfy them. One girl insisted on calling my home. After a while, I relented, dialed my home number, and let her talk to my wife. The girl insisted I be punished, that this was inexcusable, and demanded my wife confiscate my cell phone. My wife told the girl that I didn't really care about the cell phone, and that she would confiscate my laptop instead. This made the girl very happy.

Regrettably, later on in the class, when I checked homework, I noticed that this very girl had not done it. This was unfortunate, as she had missed perhaps 9 of the last 10 assignments. I don't give a whole lot of homework, and she's a high-performing student anyway, but just like lateness, if I let her not do homework, I kind of let everyone not do it.

Complicating this was the fact that she'd just called my house. If I called her house, it would appear I was exacting revenge. That was not a very good look. So I told her she needed to do the homework, she told me I needed to come to class on time, and we went about our lives.

But the next day, lo and behold, the same girl failed to do her homework. At this point, I called her house. When she saw me next, she accused me of calling her house simply because she'd called mine. Despite my trying to avoid that accusation, there it was staring me in the face. Was it karma? Tough to say.

But that day, that girl brought in her homework, and made sure that fact was acknowledged by everyone in the room.
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