Sunday, November 7, 2010

Don't Get Stuck on an Escalator

Have you seen this video?  If not, watch it.  It'll only take two minutes and three seconds of your time.

This video has turned into one of my most popular classroom catchphrases.  As of late, I've said to a student, "Don't get yourself stuck on an escalator" more times than I can count.

Here are some examples of behaviors that students were exhibiting that caused me to feed them my new favorite line:

1.  A student not doing work because they don't have a pencil.
In my district, we are required to provide all school supplies to all students; so, in my room, I have boxes of pencils for the taking.  They don't even have to ask for one.  The pencils are easily accessible and located in different places throughout the room.  Therefore, when students don't have a pencil, it's because they don't want to get up to get one.

2.  A student not doing work because the pencil they have isn't sharpened.
There are multiple pencil sharpeners in my room.   I'm not even a you-must-raise-your-hand-to-get-out-of-your-seat kind of teacher.  I have always told students that if they need something to just go get it.  The only circumstance that requires permission is leaving the room.  Other than that, they are free to access anything.  Therefore, this situation is also one that occurs simply because a student doesn't want to get up to sharpen it.

3.  A student letting an assignment go missing for multiple weeks because they didn't understand what to do.
I am perfectly willing to admit that part of this could have been my fault.  Perhaps I didn't explain directions well enough.  I am really intentional, however, about asking for questions after I give directions.  Now, maybe the assignment was taken home and then the questions came up.  Fine.  But ask a sibling, ask a parent, call/text/e-mail/Facebook a classmate and ask for help.  Or, bring it back the next day and ask the person who is in charge of grading it.  Don't let it sit idle in a folder for three weeks.

Anyway, I was inspired to write this post because of an incident that happened this weekend in which I ended up saying this phrase out loud to myself.

On Saturday morning, I was enjoying my morning shower when, all of a sudden, the shower head came flying off and landed in the tub before I had even lathered up the shampoo.  I turned off the water and put the shower head back on, but as soon as I turned on the water, the shower head flew off again.  When I put on my glasses to further examine the situation, I realized that the attachment thingy was broken.

I'm fairly sure that "attachment thingy" is not a technical plumbing term, but it's the best that I can do.

Anyway, this is were I got kind of stuck on the escalator.

Here are the solutions that I came up with in order of occurrence:

1.  Forego the shower.  Go to class a little bit dirty and buy a new showerhead later.
2.  Go to Wal-Mart really quickly and take the fastest shower of my life in order to get to class on time.
3.  Wash my hair in the sink and use lots of perfume.
4.  Go to Wal-Mart really quickly and take a normal shower.  Then, call my really awesome professor and explain why I'll be a bit late to class.
5.  Go to a friend's house (who lives on my way to Doane) to shower and get ready.

In this situation, I differed slightly from my students in that I at least attempted to come up with some solutions to my problem.  I weighed pros and cons and was ready to take action.  They, on the other hand, mostly just sit idly.

After quickly brainstorming the aforementioned list, I decided to go with the 6th solution:

Take a bath.
No, my bath tub is not this nice.  But, hey, a girl can dream, right?

I laughed out loud at myself for taking that long to come up with such an obvious solution.  In my defense, however, it's been a long time since I've taken a bath.  I'm thinking middle school was the last time, and that was literally half of my life ago.  That said, there is no good excuse for not coming up with that solution sooner.

Anyway, the crisis was averted, and I made it to class on time.  I even had time to stop at McDonald's for a mocha frappe.

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