Monday, June 3, 2013

Watching You


*This is from a chapter about unusual things that happen in my classroom*

Watching You- Watching You isn’t a game and it isn’t a lesson. It’s not active at all. The point of watching you is to constantly remind my students and myself that learning is serious business, but it doesn’t have to be taken seriously. It is easy to explain. I know I stole it, but I don’t know who from.
Before the school year starts I take a picture of myself looking stern, arms crossed, scowling at the camera. I print five full-page copies of the picture, which I put into clear protective covers. Then I staple the pictures to the walls of my classroom, one on each wall and one on the ceiling.
I say nothing about the pictures. I do not acknowledge them in any way until a student does. This doesn’t take long. The one in the front of the classroom doesn’t get noticed first because it’s normally hidden behind the pull-down screen. It’ll be one to the sides first seen. I hear it discovered. “What the..hey! There’s a picture of Mr. Robertson over here!” Eyes immediately go to the picture, then to the opposite wall, where they find the other. “Hey! He’s over here too!” Quickly they look to the back of the room and see me staring down at them. “He’s got pictures all over the place!” They think discoveries are over now. Where else would a picture be? When I roll up the screen to reveal number four it gets a delighted scream from the class. “Why do you have pictures of yourself all over the room?”
“Because I’m always watching you.”
It isn’t until later that someone finds the one on the ceiling. That’s the best one. The child is becoming bored with class. He lets his head loll back. What in the what? “He’s on the ceiling!”
It’s great. It works all year as parents and other classes come to my room for various reasons. Keeps me amused. It’s funny to listen to the kids share it with siblings outside of class. “He’s got pictures of himself all over! I know, it’s weird, right?”

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