It’s All About the Benjamins

That’s a Cheeto on fire!
I realized on my drive yesterday that I now have the mist dangerous classroom in the school. We have eliminated all shop classes so there are no more saws and drills presses to potentially remove an appendage.  Therefore the chemistry lab is one of the few places left where the students can be seriously injured. We use chemicals that can’t be purchased except through special chemical companies.  We have acids, flammable substances, broken glass, hot metals, scalding water, poisonous chemicals and sharp objects.  And, I have labs in which I freely let the students mix these substances in whatever quantities they wish and I call it inquiry

learning.

And yet I really don’t have discipline or safety problems. I don’t have students misbehaving and running a muck in my room. And I have not written up a student for inappropriate behavior in over 10 years.  This doesn’t mean my class is perfect, but I take a slightly different perspective on classroom management than a lot of teachers.
You see, my class is all about the Benjamins. And the Christinas. And the Jaimes and the Roberts and the Mohammeds and the Ericas and the Jordans and the Alexs.  Our class is all about the relationships.  Our class is about the mutual respect we have for each other.  Our classroom is where risk taking is rewarded and failure is learning.
Sometimes, as teachers, we get so wrapped up in lesson plans, state tests, and completing our curriculum that we lose sight of what who is most important in our classroom.
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