Irony and Punishment

Today, my students wrote five paragraph essays on a subject of their choice. They had to write two essays. Let me back up. One of my students has been throwing paper into the trash can like basketball. He and some other kids got really into it and it got out of control. I asked them to stop many times but this kid repeated the same thing every day. So, yesterday, he started it up again, and I said, "You better not let that leave your hand!" Of course, he did just that. I grabbed a referral and wrote it out. He was not stoked to get a referral. But, instead of handing in the referral, I waited and thought about what to do.

If my students did not want to come up with their own topics for the essays, I gave them two ideas. First, they could talk about students who get in trouble should have to do manual labor for a punishment instead of detention, where they just sit there and "think about what they have done". Their second option was to write about whether teachers should be allowed to show PG-13 and R rated movies in school. Many students chose those. Curiously enough, I decided to make this student who was throwing stuff come into my room for lunch detention and pick up all the pieces of paper on the floor (I made sure my room was extra messy). I got that ready for him in my prep period, 4th, and he came sauntering in 5th period (and, I think he was happy that he had not been pulled out of class yet by the vice principals; he probably thought all was forgiven and forgotten). When I sat down to grade his essay today, I was very shocked to read his introduction:

"Some people believe that instead of detention or suspension the students' punishment should be labor. I think that we should not do labor and that those people are wrong. First, labor is not part of a school situation for punishment. Second, labor's not something you should do in school. Third, if you're going to do that, you might as well send them to DT"

The really great thing is that he had one more class before lunch and so he had time to think about that, and then he actually had to do the chore. It was great. You cannot buy opportunities like that. By the way, I guess that DT is something that is like jail, but not entirely.


    I am not going to write an essay or anything, but I think having that kid do some labor was good for him. I think they get off easy going to detention because all they do is sit there. If they have to actually work it might make them think twice before acting up.

    Good Job!