5th grade maths class

Author – Fifth grade maths teacher

I teach math to a few classes, I always have the fifth grade from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30.

I don’t want to start the year off a negative note, so I ignore latecoming to class the first few weeks, then, after a few weeks, I choose a boy who continually comes late to class and tell him to give me his shoes, and I tell all the boys that from that point on anyone who comes late will have to forfeit his shoes. I generally return them at the end of lesson, but if a boy comes late often I normally keep them until the end of the schoolday.

This year I announced one Thursday the rule, while making a boy hand over his shoes. The next morning – Friday – only three boys came on time for the lesson, all the rest came over ten minutes late. I told them to hand over their shoes, and then at the end of class I refused to return the shoes. If the boys were surprised they didn’t show it, they filed out quite happily in their socks. I then refused to return the shoes at the end of the day, in fact I went out to watch the boys leaving the grounds in their socks – I found it quite thrilling actually.

The principal phoned me that night, it seems like a couple of parents had been in touch, when he heard that the whole story he made clear that he stood fully behind me.

On Monday the principal waited with me in the room at the beginning of the lesson, a good number of boys came on time, most were wearing diiferent shoes or sneakers, or at least crocs, but three were in their socks, and reclaimed their shoes, but another eleven came late. All were wearing shoes, and the principal make them take off the second pair of shoes, and bring both pairs to his office.

He returned to the classroom a few minutes later, and told all the boys to follow him to the nearby park, where he allowed the shod boys to play games, and told the unshod boys to collect the garbage. He also made clear that if they come on time to clas for the next couple of days they will get their shoes back on the Wednesday, otherwise there will be more serious consequences.

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