Monday, September 14, 2015

Whine, teenagers and song - it's as bad as it sounds

Sometimes the hardest part of the day for a teacher isn’t all the paperwork, or ridiculous requirements from the district, or the non-understanding of the administration.  For some teachers, first period is a nightmare, because they’re trying to get students to wake up and respond.  For others, Fridays means either general restlessness or apathy. Or a teacher may have a hard time handling group work, or long tests.  

I can handle all that pretty well.  For me, the most difficult thing to handle is when students begin to whine and complain about whatever it is we’re doing.

“But Miss, I don’t like writing!”

“But Miss, I hate group work!”

“But I don’t FEEL like doing this!  It’s too hard!”

“Why do you have to give us writing assignments?  I’m not good at writing!”

“But Miss, can’t you give us something easier?”

“But Miss, how come you never let us watch a movie?” 

When kids are around, there’s sure to be whining.  It doesn’t matter what the age is.  Most veteran parents know this.  They either become deaf to it or turn themselves inside out trying to reason with a kid.  

For me, whining causes me to become homicidal.  I really don't care what the opinions are on the classwork because it's got to be done, so I feel they should shut up and do it.  Sometimes I can reason the students out of the complaints.  Other times I can feel myself getting mean.  Teenagers are old enough to listen and understand logic, but younger kids – not so much.  I do wonder if a teacher can turn it around with the students, sort of in a reverse psychology way.

For example, today I had several students who felt that it was the perfect day to complain about absolutely everything we had to do in class.  I didn’t check to see if there was a full moon, but maybe that would explain it.  In most of my classes, I just pretended to be deaf and repeated the directions, though my voice was getting steadily louder.  Then I wondered if the students would like a taste of their own medicine.  How do you think it would work if my voice went up two octaves, and I started saying things like this:

“But WHY can’t you turn in your work on time?”

“I don’t LIKE it when students don’t put their names on their papers!”

“I HATE incomplete work!”

“Why won’t you ever listen to me??!!”

“But I don’t FEEL like grading this!  It’s crap!” 

I think all of these would probably work well if I stomped my feet and threw papers on the floor, don’t you?

Anyway, I’m curious to know if any other teachers have a way to end the nonstop complaints.  I’m all ears, unless I just don’t FEEL like it!  *stomp stomp*