Tuesday, February 27, 2018

DON'T Put A Loaded Weapon In My Classroom by Graham Stewart

I can't even keep track of the remote control for the overhead projector. I have pencils and pens littered around the room because I forget where I put the last one I used. I lose stacks of photocopies on a daily basis. I put the stack down after I pass them out in first period and I can't find them for second period. I repeat this routine for every period. I come home with two whiteboard pens on a daily basis because I forget I have one and use another one from the chalk tray.

It may sound like I am absent minded (sometimes I am) but it really boils down to I am trying to make 30+ brains work towards the same goal. I have to monitor everyone's level of engagement every single minute. I need to keep 30+ adolescents focused on a task or content that 75% of them really care nothing about. I have to get them to willingly come along for the ride. I have to do this and take roll, send kids to the nurse, give attention to the quiet kid who is going through their parents' divorce, make sure that the two girls in the front of the room are including the shy boy in their group work, keep the kid who thinks he is funny away from his buddies, all the while negotiating a myriad of other distractions.

Teaching is one of the cognitively most difficult tasks I have ever done. On a good day I am only reaching about 85% of my goals and anything less than 100% means that there are going to be problems later on down the road. I live in a constant state of worry that I may unintentionally say something that will hurt a vulnerable kid. I worry that I am not reaching all the kids with the content they have to know to move on. I worry that some of my kids are using drugs or having sex. I worry that they are not getting enough to eat. I worry that my lesson is not good enough to reach 100% of the students and that they will fall behind later in life because of my teaching deficits.

Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, DON'T put a loaded weapon in my classroom. Someone is going to get hurt if you do. I have enough to worry now and I couldn't live with myself if something accidentally happened to one of my students in my care.

Please, just stop. It is a bad idea and a red herring to distract us from the real problem. Which is that it is too easy for people to get their hands on these weapons and shoot children. Let's work on that.

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