Day 144, May 14, 2009
This morning, during an 8th grade class, I happened to notice that a student had put his head down on the table, and I reacted quickly and sternly – and I think appropriately. I rarely raise my voice in class, but this was a situation that deserved stronger words than usual from the teacher. By putting his head down on the table, the boy was telling his classmates and me that he no longer cared to listen to us – a serious breach of good manners that needed a vigorous response from me. He – and the class – needed to be unequivocally reminded that some rules may not ever be broken, one of them being respect for others. I simply said his name and then, in an uncompromising and somewhat strident tone, “Sit up straight.” The class was stunned. They had never heard me speak in that manner. There was silence for about 10 seconds as I let the scholars appreciate the seriousness of what had happened. Then we proceeded with the business of English class -- with the offending boy sitting up as straight as a fence post.