Hammer time

24 Sep

Week four and the hammer falls.

We have spent the last three weeks in training – learning when and when not to go to their lockers, what to bring to each class, when to go to the bathroom. The first two weeks were friendly reminders. Last week’s reminders were a little more serious.

“If you do that next week, you’ll have lunch detention.”

Lunch detention is hardly a hardship. Students sit in silence, eating their lunch and reading a book. In a school of 1600, where over 500 6th graders eat at the same time, lunch detention can seem like a respite, but at this point in the year, the 6th graders don’t know that yet.

I had an idea of who my first detainees might be. So, imagine my surprise when one of the sweetest, most responsible boys in class confessed he had left his writer’s notebook in his locker. They students had just taken their seats to begin generating ideas for personal narratives around first times, last times, and times they learned something. This young man, because he was sweet and honest, didn’t just get some notebook paper, he confessed.

I don’t make a big deal out of lunch detention when it happens. Most kids are worried the first time, and ask funny questions like “Are you going to tell my mom?” or “Will this go on my permanent record?”.

The student came back to class with a worried look on his face, so I tried to alleviate his worry with some humor.

“Maybe you could write about “The first time I got lunch detention,” I suggested, grinning.

He smiled back at me, opened his notebook, and got to work.

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3 Responses to “Hammer time”

  1. arjeha September 24, 2019 at 7:10 am #

    Sometimes it is hard to enforce the rules especially when the rule breaker is one who rarely brakes the rule, but consistency in enforcing the rule is important to everyone. I am sure your smile and humor made this experience a little easier for that young man. As you say, it also provided him with a “first” to write about.

  2. Grace Hilsmier (@GraceHilsmier) September 24, 2019 at 9:17 am #

    Good on you for having compassion for him. It is amazing how fearful sixth graders can be (and how quickly they get over it in seventh grade). This was concise and fun to read. 🙂

  3. Lisa Corbett September 24, 2019 at 2:33 pm #

    I WANT LUNCH DETENTION! It’s impossible to find a quiet place to eat lunch at my school. I don’t even bother to take a book with me anymore.

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