The longer I teach – or more accurately, the longer I substitute teach, the more I notice how easily distracted high school kids are. I won’t lie, I often get easily distracted myself but I’ve come up with a bit of a list that will tell you which days you’re just not going to be able to encourage the kids to get much work done.
1. Any day there is a substitute. This is pretty standard. It can depend on the class, but overall, as soon as kids see a sub they figure it’s a do nothing day.
2. Snow – any time it’s snowing a lot, particularly if it is the first snow of the season, kids will be bonkers the entire day. This is especially true if they have windows. Sometimes interior classrooms without windows can help, but odds are they still know it’s snowing and could care less what you have to say.
3. Assembly days – shortened periods, etc. mean kids are not ready to focus.
4. Mondays – it’s the first day back after the weekend and they can’t be bothered.
5. Wednesday – it’s the middle of the week and they just can’t be bothered.
6. Friday – it’s the end of the week and gosh they need to make their weekend plans during your class and how dare you tell them to be quiet and learn soemthing instead.
7. Holidays – Halloween, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day – anything that has dressing up or decorations, distraction.
8. If there was a fight at lunch.
9. If it’s someone’s birthday.
10. Anyone has food in class.
11.It’s first period and they’re still half asleep.
12. It’s right before lunch and they’re hungry.
13. It’s right after lunch and they’re sugared up or they were too busy talking to eat their lunch and now they want to eat it in your class..
14. It’s the last class of the day and they just want to go home.
15. They have a phone, ipod, laptop, etc.
16. You turn off the lights for a movie, overhead or powerpoint.
I’m only exaggerating slightly in some cases – quite honestly anything and everything can be a distraction these days. Certain things – like phones – are the bane of my existence in classrooms. Other things, it’s behyond your control