This is Not a Beehive


You're trying to get things rolling and then it starts albeit innocently enough. Can I sharpen my pencil?  Go to the bathroom?  Can I go to my locker? Can you sign this ? What are we doing tomorrow? Or a student walks up to you right in the middle of class and tells you "Tomorrow's my birthday".  We're teachers.  We love kids and have kids of our own. We want to be approachable. We want to help. We want to answer student questions. But by acquiescing to these simple requests, you are surrendering control of your classroom.  Students figure out real quick that they can dictate the pace and agenda in the classroom by simply interrupting with something simple but completely unrelated to the task at hand. 


The answer is routines - explained, practiced, rehearsed and enforced.  When I first started teaching, I had 6th grade math classes.  Sixth grade was the first time they changed rooms and had different teachers for different subjects.  The first habit I had to correct in them was this business of swarming around the teacher, which they had been doing for five years.  My standard line was "This is not a beehive".  There's a way to ask questions and when you do it properly, I will be happy to help you.  The first couple times I did that, kids started crying.  They went home and said I was mean.  Then the phone calls started, but within a week, we were settled in. If they needed occasional reminders, I would simply start going bzzzzzz.


The learning point here is that not all classroom disruptions involve overt misconduct by a student. They mean well and so do you, but everyone needs to stick to an established routine.  Don't make your job harder by unwittingly giving students the power to sidetrack things. 


Si facile, omnes esset facere....Mister L.