Often, I am hit with ideas while teaching. Although one of my students claims my latest idea is devoid of any intelligent thought, I can easily dismiss his opinion. After all, he is only a teenager; what does he truly know about school, learning, and education in general?
The spark that ignited my idea was one of the vocabulary words of the day, interrogation. Since it is Veterans Day, I required the students to create a sentence with a reference to the military. As students shared their super sweet sentences with the class, one student mentioned torture while interrogating prisoners.
BAM! My brain was on fire.
“Don’t teachers interrogate students everyday?” I asked the class.
“Yes,” they responded with looks of curiosity and trepidation.
“Well, if I am interrogating, then I should be allowed to torture, too,” I hypothesized. “Nothing too hurtful, just a little electric shock.” I continued, “Imagine, what if I had a row of buttons that would give a little ZAP to a student who answered a question incorrectly?” Of course, I might hit the wrong button and accidentally shock the wrong kid. Oh well, feces occurs; the zapped kid probably didn’t know the correct answer either.
People never like great ideas. For example, people told Walt Disney he was foolish to create a magical place for children. Disney’s response: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Students can be just like adults, and immediately I was met with negative comments. The naysayers in the class told me the district did not have enough money to wire all of the desks, the desks were made of plastic and would melt, and one smart girl even said we weren’t allowed corporal punishment.
I use to see the negative side of everything, too. However, I have been working hard to persevere through problems that arise. I decided I would invest in the students education and would pay for the set up myself. (We teachers are always paying for supplies, books, and additional resources for our students.) Preventing the melting of a desk would merely require testing out the zappers. I really do not think anything would melt; my dogs do not burst into flames when they get shocked from the wireless fence in our yard. The last argument given by a student deals with laws. I am not a lawyer, but Atticus Finch, the lawyer and father of Scout and Jem in To Kill A Mockingbird is my hero. I believe he would be able to successfully counter that the definition for corporal punishment does not include small shocks. And, if Atticus says it is ok, then I believe him.
This weekend I will spend some time researching this way to motivate my students to excel. Yes, we teachers do not always get our job done during the school day. A few of us even work to become better during the summer.