In my personal life, away from students, I have sometimes been accused of being just a tad melodramatic. Today, I got to share some of that emotion with my second period students.
Earlier this week I instituted yet another tardy policy. Anyone coming in to class would be handed a referral form, no questions asked. And they would have to write themselves up. How's that for making it hit home? Instead of me filling out the referral form, I have them do it. I then put the referral form into a folder. The next time they're late, I call their house and make a note of that call on the form. Finally, on the third tardy, I hand it in to the discipline office for a day of in-school suspension.
I think it's brilliant because it hits home. Several kids this week got their very first-ever write up. And to add insult to injury, they had to write themselves up. I loved it. The part that isn't brilliant is that I have to keep track of all these forms, have to stay organized. And I'll have to call homes just to tell parents that their little ones are running late.
But, quite unexpectedly, it's been an amazing success in the first week. Just about every single kid is now on time.
Except for one kid, a quiet, normally decent kid I'll call Mac. Mac has a problem. His girlfriend is in my class first period. He has me second. The trouble is he meets her after first by my door, then walks her to her class before heading back to my room. Which means he's late just about every day. This week, he was late Tuesday. He filled out a form. Wednesday. I called his house, left a message. Thursday, and I said, "That's it! You're the first one with three strikes!"
Today, he showed up on time. I let him start his work. Then, 10 minutes into class, I waved my folder in the air and said, "I hate to do this, I really do. But Mac was tardy three times this week. And if I don't follow through, no one will ever believe a word I say."
I handed him the referral form and said, "Go to the office. They're expecting you."
So off he went without a word. The rest of the class was dead silent. After letting it sink in, I said to them, "Please don't make me do this to one of you next week."
I saw Mac after school. "It was horrible!" he said.
"Again, I'm sorry I had to do it to you," I said. "See you Monday. On time."
"Thanks," he said. "Have a good weekend."