Middle School Dropout

Last week my class was continuing their work on atoms and working with the periodic table. One of their assignments involved coloring, and man they really got into that. Maybe we should make everything involve coloring. Although that doesn’t mean they actually took anything from it. Anyways, it was a harder day because for some reason, two of our students had gotten in trouble, but apparently the school couldn’t decide how to deal with them. So the solution: have them sit in our class all day long. Which meant Mr. Ziegler and I spent all day babysitting them while trying to teach and work with the actual class. Fabulous.

I had an interesting conversation with one of the troublemakers though. We ended up sitting him in the corner (I’m telling you this is effective). He shut up quickly after that, but he became really angry too. I pulled him outside and had a chat with him about why he was there and what does he need to do to fix it. He started talking about how he hates school because he can’t talk and has to do work. Then he said he was going to dropout. I jumped on this one pretty quickly…

Me: “Dropout eh? What are you going to do after that?”

Student: “I’ll get a job”

Me: “How old are you?”

Student: “Thirteen”

Me: “Well, at thirteen your really not even legal to work yet. You have to get parents permission at fourteen just to work and that’s limited. But besides that, what job are you planning on getting? Busboy?”

Student: “Sure, what’s that”

Me: “Basically a janitor/maid job, how much do you think you’ll make?”

Student: “Couple bucks a day?”

Me: “Exactly. Now subtract rent, food, utilities, clothes, everything you need from a day to day basis. Do you have any money left?”

Student: “No”

Me: “Now the best part about work is… they tell you to be quiet and expect you to work all day. So… still want to dropout?”

Student: “No, I guess not.”

I think I may teach a lesson about this exact conversation to my classroom if I get the chance. They have no idea.


About benson3

I am in my second year as a PhD student at the University of Kansas. My degree is in geophysics with a focus on near-surface geoarcheology applications.
This entry was posted in 2011-2012 GK12, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Middle School Dropout

  1. Robert C Everhart says:

    You seem to take a really active role in helping to manage the classroom. Do you like doing that, or is it maybe something you just feel compelled to do?

  2. benson3 says:

    I like when I’m able to work with the “troublemakers” one on one because for the most part they do extremely well when they have more personal interaction to their learning. This day was different though because these students weren’t in the class, they were just sitting there all day as their punishment… clearly not an effective way.

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