I shared my plans and another the other teacher began to laugh. He said "they're going to cry" and then proceeded to transform into something more comic book villain than educator. For some reason, "The Teacher" sounds like it'd make a pretty good one, especially the way that some people talk about us. Anyway, I got to thinking about times where I've delighted in the unhappiness of my students.
There are plenty. If you've ever given a retaliatory zero, assigned work as a punishment, made a kid skip recess, and/or graded a kid's essay more harshly because they are a pain in the behind, that definitely counts as delighting in student misery. I plead guilty on all charges.
Here's the thing though, that's life. Some days you come in having a rough time and you take it out on the students. You shouldn't, but that's being human. Realizing you are doing it is the first step to stopping yourself before you become that petty, bitter teacher we're all thinking about right now. You aren't a monster for letting a kid upset you. You kind of are if you turn into that teacher that's so excited about tardy sweeps that you start yelling "I'M GONNA SWEEP YOU! BETTER HURRY UP! I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL YOU'RE IN ISS." That teacher makes me nervous. Yes, that's a real person.
Can't blame him for feeling that way, he has plenty of students that never show up on time. What I can do, and have done, is talk to the students about why they act the way they do. Whether it's him or the woman who got her computer peed in last week, there's a reason kids do things. Not every teacher is in that position and some kids are better with other teachers.
Using punishment just for punishment's sake misses the point. It rots you and it confuses the kids so things only deteriorate. That breakdown of classroom and school culture is what leads to pee in the computers, so you may as well talk to them honestly up front before you have a bigger problem on the back end. Know why you are taking the path you are instead of knee jerking to something you think will hurt your kids just because you are mad. Don't make quizzes hard or assign mountains of homework just because.
See yourself in their shoes. It won't always work, but when it does, it's much better than the alternative.
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