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Handling work avoidance in class

Date: February 18th, 2016
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: I only send students out of the classroom if I can’t teach around them. If a kid is sitting in my room, not doing their classwork, not doing anything, then that’s refusal. I can still teach around them sitting there. There is no reason for me to toss the kid out of class.

If it’s repeated refusal, and I’ve done everything I possibly can to help him/her, then I might turn it in as documentation. I need help now because I don’t know why the student keeps refusing. But I don’t send the kid out for not doing their work if they’re sitting quietly.

I’ve had colleagues say, “But, Polly, every student is going to jump on that bandwagon.” That just doesn’t happen. I might have one student say, “How come he doesn’t have to do any work, and he’s not getting in trouble? He’s sitting there doing nothing.”

My response? “What number are you on? Do you need some help? I’ll be right there to help you.” By responding that way, I’m basically telling the kid to take care of their own responsibility and I’ll be the teacher.

I’ve never had mutiny or shutdown because one kid was allowed to just sit there and not do anything. I will get to that kid, and most of the other kids know that.