RULE: No complaining, No rolling eyes

16 Sep

Let me just say, more kids have rolled their eyes at me in the first two weeks of working here at this school than my entire 6 years at my old school. And when these kids are not satisfied and entertained, they don’t merely put their heads down bored, they let it be known! The amount of grumbling, complaining, and throwing down of their arms and head to start their work has been permeating my classes. Well, most of my classes.

Also, MAN, do they love gum. They looooooove gum. They chomp on that gum like every chew was actually pumping their hearts. They even pop bubbles in class. This is even despite my “no gum” rule and me making them spit it out.

This is all, of course, not counting how much they love texting and listening to their music (which I assume is not unique to our school.)

SO, I made 10% of their grade on attitude. “Process of Learning” is what this school calls it. Most of the time, teachers just give them a certain grade for how well they behave. I wrote them down and specified it, with the good advice of a few teachers.

My new POL policy:

They get 10 points everyday that they show up.

  • They lose all 10 points even if they have an excused absence. Some of these kids come with such a sense of entitlement it drives me mad. Like it’s MY responsibility to catch them up, and that it’s MY fault if they fall behind because they were absent. Please. If you’re sick and almost dying and you’re absent once, then those lost 10 points aren’t going to do a thing to your grade.

They lose 5 points if they:

  • chew gum,
  • eat food,
  • don’t bring materials,
  • have friends deliver food/drink/anything else to them in my class,
  • are more than 30 minutes tardy

They lose 3 points if they:

  • are over 5 minutes tardy
  • use pen instead of pencil,
  • are not organized,
  • COMPLAIN, or

Now for most of the kids who complain or roll their eyes, they don’t even realize they’re doing it. They have broken springs behind their eyeballs that makes them automatically bounce back or they simply talk the language Complaint.

I’ve implemented these new rules for TWO DAYS! and it has already drastically altered my class attitude!! It kind of became a joke to point out all the complaints and I found it hilarious how quiet a couple of my girls got because they were not allowed to complain. One straight up looked up at me all period and said, “I’m trying so hard right now Ms. Hwang.” It was beautiful.

Not only that, w/out the complainers, eye-rollers, and grumblers, the rest of the class who might actually enjoy the material and want to work on it are starting to take over. Their attitudes are the ones setting the class tone now, not the loud complainers.

Of course, I also didn’t have any pens or gum either. It’s beautiful I tell ya.

I actually worked on forming relationships AND managing a class by being more strict than normal. Good job, Jinna, *pats -self-on-the-back.*

For today.

4 Responses to “RULE: No complaining, No rolling eyes”

  1. Sue VanHattum September 16, 2010 at 2:44 am #

    I’d have to lose 3 points a day. I hate pencil. I’m left-handed, and it gets on my hand too much.

    But yeah, the rest of it sounds like a glorious solution. I don’t know if I could do this in a college class…

  2. Kristen April 24, 2011 at 1:32 am #

    A friend on twitter just pointed me to your blog! I’m excited to get caught up. Loving some of your ideas!


  3. Mork Trawick September 13, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    Hi! This is my second year teaching and I love the ideas and articles I’ve read from your blog so far. Question: How do you keep track of everybody’s point total each day? I like the idea because I think positive attitude is such a powerful thing and I’d love to be able to have my students take their positive attitudes outside of my class and apply them. I’d have trouble keeping track of everybody’s point total. I imagine it could disrupt the flow of class if you paused to jot a note down. What do you do to keep track?

    • teachingninja September 13, 2011 at 10:39 am #

      Hi Mork,
      I keep a binder w/ tabs of each class that contain roster pages with 20 columns next to their names. The first page, I take attendance on. When students are tardy, I quickly write the T in the box w/ how many minutes they were late.

      The second page is where I mark their point reductions per day and it would match the attendance sheet so I can keep track of the days too. If I had to ask a student to spit out their gum on 9/6, I quickly jot down, -2 in the same column I took attendance for on the previous page. I think by the end of the semester, I kept everything at -2 points, w/ the exception of no materials or having to get their materials in the middle of class and getting things delivered to the class. These I took off 5 points for. It kept things simpler.

      After a week or two, I would just tally up the points they lost from tardies/absences from the first page and class behavior on the second page and input them.

      The binder would always just remain open in the front of my classroom so it was very minimal distraction. If you have a very LOUD class, then I actually call out, “may I have your attention please” and then count down from 5. Whoever is talking by the end gets -2. It might seem punitive more than encouraging, but hey, some classes need to start with structure and control first.

      Really though, gauge what your class needs, because things like food delivery and complaining were very specific to that school. I wouldn’t recommend it everywhere. I actually don’t use it here at my new school.

      A few notes:
      – get approval from some admin regarding assigning points to attendance. I gave back 70% of their points IF it was excused AND they came in to see what they missed and made up their work.
      – I wish I had also given them the opportunity to gain some points back in the classroom and been more adamant about sticking to the rules throughout the year. For example, after a complaint, saying something positive might get them their points back. I figure, even if it’s on purpose, if that person can get the class or me to laugh about it, it would be worth it.
      – Even at this new school, I really believe in setting a good attitude as well. Maybe I’ll try throwing in exit cards where they have to write something they’re grateful for this school year… or maybe making an exit card be an actual thank you card they have to write to a teacher… or writing about a topic they learned (in any class) that they thoroughly enjoyed… =) You can even just throw in a question of the like on a test…

      Thanks for the reminder! I think I’m actually going to try one of those last things this week. Let me know if you have any other ideas as well. I would love to hear them~!

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