Sunday, January 10, 2016

The 2-Minute Rule

I am trying to think of everything and anything that might be helpful for my friend taking over for me during maternity leave (any day now!).  One of the things I included in my list to her was my 2-Minute Rule: "I allow students to pack up two minutes before the bell rings, not a second before. Then they need to stay seated until the bell rings.  The kids are pretty good about it, but some of the kids that transferred at semester are still learning."

My first year of teaching high school, the kids would do two things in particular that really annoyed me:

  1. Pack up early.
  2. Line up at the door.
I don't know if it's because I was homeschooled or if it's because I taught college classes before switching to high school, but I was totally floored and appalled by this behavior, which I've been told is very normal. Thus, I instituted the 2-minute rule. It's simple and I'm sure lots of teachers have something similar, but it really does work because it gives the students freedom to pack up before the bell rings but it also gives them a guideline as to when it's permissible to do so. Usually, I just have to get on to a class once or twice until they get it.

The other day I noticed a kid (who had transferred to my class just days before) pack up seven minutes before the bell rang. I told her she needed to get her stuff back out and that she could pack up at 1:13, two minutes early. She agreed to the rule. But I was reminded in that moment how important this rule is. In my first year, I felt like the kids just packed up earlier and earlier every day. Not ok.

That's all. Totally simple but totally helps me keep my cool.