I Didn’t Sign Up To Be A Cop!

I Didn’t Sign Up To Be A Cop and I don’t want to be one.  Don’t get me wrong. Policeman do a thankless and dangerous job. We need them, I’m glad they’re there, but it’s just not a job that I’m interested in.

Sometimes I feel like a cop in the classroom. I signed up to teach. I want to spend my time sharing interesting information, teaching skills and opening eyes to possibilities. I don’t want to hammer a sixth grader for disrespecting a classmate. I don’t want to hound a student to complete her homework. I don’t want to force someone to stop talking, quit bugging a neighbor, stop tapping the pencil, picking your nose, looking out the window, making that noise, passing notes- “Pay attention already!”

Get the idea?

badgeI’ve learned over time that classes have to run well in order for students to learn well. If I want to teach well, to open students’ eyes, then part of the job is cop. Learning should be the bulk of what happens in a classroom, but in many that’s not the case.  Support learning by minimizing student created havoc.

And for that I am cop.

“Time on task” is the concept in Educatorese. Simple really. The more time students are spending engaged in the lesson, the more they learn. Makes sense and it really plays out that way in the classroom.

That means I have to make sure my lessons are interesting. After plenty of years teaching, an easy part of it for me is planning lessons. The second part is more difficult and ongoing. I have to see what the students are doing and I have to act to eliminate any off task behavior. In a class of thirty students it’s impossible to completely eliminate poor behavior, but it’s possible to reduce it a great deal.  I’ve mentored many student teachers over the years and having an awareness of the classroom mood, seeing when kids are not on task and moving them to be with you, is important and a very tough skill to learn. It’s the difference between having a class that runs well and one that wastes a lot of learning time.

So, reminders to students and a shiny badge for teacher just to make sure it all happens. Yes, I am Cop!

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One Response to “I Didn’t Sign Up To Be A Cop!”

  1. Thanks for putting it so well. I think most teachers feel like cops. It is amazing to me that very few outside our profession get that. Could we maybe reduce class size? Isn’t that “research based”? Oh, I forgot, that would cost more money. It is also amazing to me that in our state, IN, that they want to reduce the time spent learning how to teach, and have future teachers spend more time on content area. Really? Since I started teaching, I have spent all the time I could learning more about classroom management/discipline than studying more about my content. What good does it do to know all there is to know, when you can’t effectively manage a classroom and impart that info in a manner that will keep your students interested, not to mention allowing for the varied needs of all your students. I guess that’s why I love what I do.

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