Classroom FAQ

Everyday in the classroom I answer the same common questions over and over. Some of the top choices include:

1. What do I do when I’m done?
2. Is this good enough?
3. Can I get a drink of water?
4. When will I ever need this?
5. Is this for marks?
6. What did I miss?

Here is my brief interpretation:

What do I do when I’m done? can often mean, “is it ok to do nothing?” 

Is this good enough? often this means have I done enough work or I can I stop working now.

Can I get a drink of water, go to my locker, bathroom etc?, often just means I need a break from what we are currently doing.

When will I ever need this? just means  this work is completely irrelevant to my life

Is this for marks? of course means, do i really need to do this?

What did I miss? is often a polite way of asking do I actually have to make up work?

All six questions connect with the underlying theme of work and work ethic which is an ever present reality in the classroom. One of the key tasks of moving from adolescence to adulthood is developing and taking responsibility for work. As a teacher, part of my role is helping students develop and practice their own work ethic. Let’s face it: this task is not glamorous and is a bit like teaching someone to choose broccoli over potato chips. Why would anyone make such a choice? Surely not for mere marks. No, we make hard choices to get a better outcome later.

Some students are planning on being rock stars and Instagram celebrities of one form or another. While I would certainly encourage students to follow their bliss, unfortunately I’m also in the business of teaching the general necessity of getting stuff done. This is a general life learning skill that has to be practiced to grow. Learning this lesson is foundational to many other lessons, which is why I’m going to need that assignment by the end of the day.