Time Out!

(Gerald-G-School-Hallway-2400pxThis post is inspired by Why You Shouldn’t Send Students Out Of Class For Time-Out | Smart Classroom Management. You should really click that link and read it.)

When I first started teaching full time, I could not walk down the hallway of my school without seeing a student standing in the hallway outside of their classroom. Usually they would be leaning against the wall, bored out of their skulls.

This was before smartphones were a thing, mind you, so they tended to not have anything to do in the hallway unless someone had the forethought to bring a book or GameBoy in their pocket.

I had to wonder what behavior had occurred in their classroom that made the teacher decide it was better to have the child learn nothing than to have them in their classroom.

Now this was my first year as a full time educator, so I was far from perfect, myself. (I’m still not perfect, but I feel a lot better when I look back on how much I’ve grown.)

I didn’t think the teacher was wrong for sending the student out, I just hadn’t encountered a situation that required 1. The removal of a student from the room without 2. The immediate intervention of an administrator or (in the case of a student I had with extreme anger management issues) a specialized aide.

stop-watch-2400pxYears went by, and I eventually worked my way from High School Art Department Chair to “Art-On-A-Cart” split between 3-4 Elementary Schools. My time was so divided among these classrooms that I usually only got to teach each student 4 times a year. I DID NOT HAVE THE TIME TO SEND ANYONE OUT OF MY ROOM!


I ended up with a compromise of sorts. If a student behaved so poorly that I needed to intervene with more than a warning, I took their art supplies and placed them back on my cart. Doing this sometimes brought a collective gasp from the class, as this was a punishment worse than worksheets.

What I never told the students, however, was that this was a temporary situation. After a minute or so I’d come back around and ask the student if they could behave now. They always said yes. They always completed the lesson.

Now I know what you might be thinking.

“Hey, that might work for an art class, but I teach [insert subject name here]! If I tell a student they can’t do their work, they’ll cheer!”

Yeah, that’s a problem, and a big one, at that.

I lucked out in that most students, especially students under the age of 11, simply adore art. To get them to dislike it I had to point out how art related to other subjects, which I often did.

Why do you think that is? What is it about non-art education that makes students loathe it so? One could argue it’s the same mob mentality that makes young boys think girls are gross (and vice-versa), but this persists in so many people even beyond high school.

I have a few ideas about that, but I imagine you do, too. I’ll save my thoughts on that for a different post.