Only then can the fun begin


by Mrs. Sabraw

Good morning students, welcome to Room N-9.

You may be wondering what the N stands for. Oh sure, you might think that just because this whole wing is the N-wing that N-9 refers to one room in that wing, but you are oh so wrong. Room N-9 refers to No Nonsense Nine.” (some faces frown, some faces show amusement, some faces remain stoic)

Don’t get me wrong, students. By No-Nonsense, I mean that I am a teacher who will not put up with immature behavior that reminds me of 7th graders. Any of you have siblings who are junior high school students? If so, then you understand. No one and no thing will detract or distract from the educational experience of another. To enforce this No-Nonsense environment, I insist on the following rules:

1. No cell phones. All cell phones will be put in an individual cubby hole, one of 35 in that honeycomb-looking plywood box that my husband built for my classroom. You will turn off your cell phone, store it there until all 55 minutes of amazing instructional time have been experienced,  and pick it up on your way out.

2. No suggestive clothing is to be worn into this room. What? Oh, you have legal rights? I don’t care what they are. In my room, no distractions from the serious business of writing instruction, complemented by fascinating literary analysis, will be allowed. You have a problem with that? (giggling) Please excuse yourself and head to the office where you can transfer out of my class and into Ms. Turley’s or Ms. Sweeezt’s class. Oh? You’re not so sure now? Let me know your druthers at the end of class. (druthers means your thoughts)

3.Regardless of your embarrassment of hat head hair, no hats are to be worn while class is in session. Why? Because last year, one of my freshmen, had written the answers to his vocabulary test  on the underside of his brim. At first I thought he was just performing a crab imitation, but upon closer inspection, I realized he was cheating. (laughter)

4. Cheating–all forms of it–is not allowed. What is my definition of cheating? Good question because your parents might have taught you that say, copying homework isn’t cheating. Copying homework, trading quiz questions, having your paid tutor correct your essays, and pilfering ideas and exact paragraphs from the internet are all cheating. Don’t do it or you will flunk my class. (things are very quiet now)

5. Please study the bumper sticker I have on my closet over there. (heads turn) I will read it aloud just to make sure you get it. ” I Refuse to Have a Battle of Wits with an Unarmed Person.” This is to suggest that you come to class prepared. It’s a little taste of Life.

6. There are 33 students in this 4th period class. If you believe that you cannot function in the environment I have just described, please stop in at the office after class and have yourself transferred out by tomorrow, because tomorrow, your exciting educational experience begins.

The next day all 33 arrive on time.

It’s as simple as that.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Only then can the fun begin

  1. douglas says:

    You reminded me of my 9th grade English teacher (the second one, not the first) who pointed out that students do not have Freedom of Speech (at that point in history, she was correct) and that she would teach General English, rather than the Remedial English the class was supposed to be.
    But one thing bothered me, who decides when the “55 minutes of amazing instructional time” has come about? I have had numerous classes where that took several days to complete.

  2. T E Stazyk says:

    Well done! Do parents really tell kids that copying homework isn’t cheating??

    • Cheri says:

      In our neck of the woods (think in the Shadow of UC Berkeley and Stanford), parents often justify any means to accomplish the end. It’s pathetic.

  3. W.k. kortas says:

    The timing of this is borderline serendipitous; I actually spoke to one of my old students on the phone last night (we’ve both been out of the classroom long enough that she confessed to having gone completely gray-haired.) One thing that hasn’t changed in the generation or so since I’ve been away from behind the desk–young people still want structure, a core of expectations. If they get that structure, and if the expectations are clearly established on front, they will indeed show up on time.

  4. That is called “teaching”. I’m sure there are many other teachers who came after you who thanked you for your ground rules.

  5. Rosemary says:

    Glorious rules!!! And you are still their favorite teacher of all time….

  6. Richard says:

    I had a maths teacher who conducted her lessons from inside an aquarium. She taught me to count all the way to 5.

  7. Cheri says:

    And isn’t the little student adorable?

  8. Christopher says:

    “……I Refuse to Have a Battle of Wits with an Unarmed Person……..”

    Yes, the frustration and foolhardiness of arguing with the ignorant – an experience I’ve had all too often, but needn’t have had, had I been blessed with your sort of common sense.

  9. Cyberquill says:

    Of course they all showed up on time. Following your introduction, they were obviously terrified that if they wouldn’t have, you’d have come to their houses and bitten their heads off.

  10. bogard says:

    I have to give the same speech to graduate students in a professional program! Sign what? An honor code? Yeah, right!! I’m too old and cynical to be astonished any more. But if I catch ’em, they are done, and their career dreams are over.

  11. Cheri says:

    Well, I’m sure you read about the cheating scandal at Haaarvaaard. I believe at least 60 kids were kicked out. Bogard, are we getting old?

  12. “4. Cheating–all forms of it–is not allowed. …”

    A propos: Are you aware of the rate at which we here in Germany, and specifically Angela M., are losing politicians to plagiarism scandals? Two government ministers down, a couple of local pols, and counting….

    A new German export…

  13. Yes I am aware ( I read about the latest in The Economist.)

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