Email this pageEmail This Page

Teach skills in detention

Date: May 19th, 2016
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: I gave a lunch detention one day to one of my seventh graders. He was so disruptive. Oh my gosh! He was playing with one of those little Tech Decks. You remember those? Little skateboards. Seventh grade? All right! How old should you be? [laughs] He got these little Tech Decks, I found out later, from the teacher across the hall. She was giving them out as incentives to do math.

If you were on track, she was running across and giving everybody toys as long as you were on track. These kids had toys all over their desks and that was working for her. However, it wasn’t working for me when they came across to Language Arts and they all had these toys in their hands.

So he’s flipping this thing all over the place and I finally said, “You know what? After class is over, I’ve got to see you at lunch.”

He’s like, “What? I didn’t do anything!”

Lunch came around, and he came walking in with his tray, and I had a whole class of kids, and he said, “Where do you want me to sit?” I said, “I don’t want you to sit anywhere.” Because what I had was compliance, if you will.

All he did was show up but that’s all I needed. He showed up which meant he owned some of that behavior. If he didn’t own that behavior, he wouldn’t have shown up, but he did. I said, “Don’t sit down. I want you to go back to the cafeteria and eat with your friends. I do want to talk to you about what happened in the classroom, the disruption, the Tech Deck.”

He said, “Mrs. Bath, I have a hard time not playing with them when they’re in my pockets.”

I said, “Let’s think about what you’re going to do when they’re in your pocket.”

We had a little discussion. It took us five or six minutes to come to some conclusion, and then he went to lunch. I didn’t have a problem with him after that.

If I had just told him, “Sit at the back table, eat your lunch, all right, and don’t do it again,” what would I get? I really think nothing.