If only I could show movies all day in class!
If you think giving 38 inner city, at-risk teens a lecture, heavy assignment, or other scholarly task on a Friday before they take a week long holiday is a keen idea, let me save you the trip to the loony asylum and tell you this: show them a movie. Your sanity (and theirs) will thank you.
I chose the Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors V because, hey it has to do with English Literature and Composition, right? It is based loosely on The Time Machine and The Shining. So I gave then 9 questions about climax, exposition, inference, and other things that make people who don't teach English yawn.
Guess what? No one called me a b1tch today, and no one wrote fuc you (or the real spelling of it) on the board. I only found two paper airplanes and four paper wads out of the droves of 200 students. My breakfast muffin got a paper clip shoved in it, sure, and I told one student to not make a shank out of the metal part from his spiral binder. But that is all folks. Some might think, wow, that was a good day? Yes. Yes it was.
I got told by a few students to enjoy my holiday. I got complimented on my pants and appearance even thought I looked like a puffer fish meets Rudolph (thanks, sinusitis). My room was nearly spotless after each class instead if full of enough waste to overflow two waste baskets. No one tried to "bump music". I got more work from my students than ever- probably 75% completed the assignment! I had students tell me how nice the day was. No one talked over me or shoved me to get out the door before the bell. Students who had no interest in working were quiet, cordial, and respectful to those who did. I only used my whistle once, and that's cause my voice didn't want to work for a moment. I only had to threaten "book work and a pop quiz" once.
It was awesome. Just like my students, I wish I could show Simpsons or other fun movies every day and build curriculum around it. I'd have most students passing the course and very few discipline problems. I'd maintain my sanity to boot.
But, alas, we have textbooks and department mandated curriculum and blah blah blah. So much for my sanity.