Friday, March 11, 2005

Your average Friday...

As a warm 75 degree night time falls in Ukiah, I reflect on the days events.

For my Intro classes, the Wal-Mart video worked pretty well. Most students were engaged because the topic was familiar. Wal-Mart is here in town and in most towns that people visit. The system of "opening price points" grabbed the kids when they found out (surprise) not everything is sold for the cheapest price at Wal-Mart. They were even more interested in the China exports and how labor works in China. Out of 75 total Intro students, I only had to warn 3 not to nod off. In my book, with that population, on a Friday, I call it a success.

Economics class was the beginning of the usual challenge of using the computer lab. The deal is that my 70 Economics students get into groups of four and create a business model for the end of the year. Included are Supply/Demand information, real life interviews, costs, marketing, financing, labor relations, you name it and I try to accomplish it, right down to an employee Manuel. So I allow my seniors, every Friday, to use the computer lab to work within their groups and create this business model. Every year, a few idiots use the computers for something other than what it was intended for. This time it was Internet whiffleball, looking at car kits on eBay, and Fantasy Baseball. It was four total students and my warning was simple. One more transgression and you get to do Economics Expo (the name of the project) as a totally outside project, like a college research paper. One thing that is nice about my classes is that most students know that I'm fair, but will follow through with my warnings.
That is the main thing I've been learning over the last four years. To pick and choose my battles while remaining fair, yet firm. I let the students know what my boundaries are, warn them, then follow through. Are there times I adjust the rules? Of course. I hear about teachers that complain that adjusting the rules for students is unfair to the class as a whole. Well, there is a difference between placating and adjusting. Your class is not a group of robots, but students with different attitudes and needs. Some get more leniency than others.
Believe it or not, the students will let me know when boundaries have been crossed. It's nice to be able to rely on them to do that.
Otherwise, I'm back in my very warm apartment with shitty air conditioning. Seriously, my apartment sucks. Hence the home hunt. I just got done watching the Kings' Mike Bibby hit a shot to win it. Pretty soon, after some blog reading, off to bed. Actually, I might wait until it cools down.
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