Guess who's not going to the Omaha zoo?
A friend of mine tells the story of her sister driving her family a couple of hours from Des Moines (please don't pronounce the "s", people) to Omaha to go to the Henry Doorly Zoo- a wonderful place. Her children kept behaving poorly in the car, bickering and snarking and sniping at each other at every turn. She of course gave the obligatory "Stop that!" and "If you guys don't shape up, I am turning this car around and we will not go to the zoo at all!" That threat is the one that is sooo lose-lose, and we all make that threat, yet few have the cajones to actually follow through. But, those who do get their reward later, because all it takes is once and your kids know you mean business. This woman? She had the cajones and later called my friend to tell her "Guess who didn't go to the Omaha zoo?". It has since become a catch phrase for us to mean "I carried out a threat I made and now I kind of feel crappy about it even though I know that fundamentally I am right."
In my Spanish 4 class I have the kids do a required number of "Anuncios". This is where they have to tell the class something in Spanish, of course, about any topic of their choice. It does not have to be long, but they do need to be intelligible and try and use current vocab and grammar structures as much as possible. They must also be able to answer some simple questions/carry on a short conversation. I am really a hard ass about them talking during this time. I have the rule that if they are talking during someone else's anuncio, I will give them a zero. Usually, I just give them the fish eye or perhaps "shush" them in a particularly bitchy tone and that seems to do the trick. But, I have several students who think if they are whispering about what's going on in class that it's ok. It's not- I can't hear as well, it's distracting, not to mention rude as hell. Well, today the kids started class in jackass mode- all ready to do a bunch of nothing and I reined them in pretty well and warned them that if they were at all talking during anuncios, they would get a zero and I wasn't going to warn them or tell them, I was just going to give them a zero. One pair of girls had to push it, I gave them zeros. Then another couple of kids. That was all. 2 of the girls are lovely young ladies, smart, good skills, good students, nice families, beautiful. I can't help but think they've gotten away with a lot because of this. One of them approached me after class- she was really upset, almost in tears. "I hope I didn't get a zero." I told her that she certainly did and that she talks all the time and I'm tired of it. She got kind of huffy and said that she was talking about what was going on in class and that she did NOT talk all the time and that she didn't understand why she had to get a zero for something stupid. I told her that I'd already explained it to her and that the conversation was over. I see no point in engaging them when they act like that.
Then, I felt like an ass. What to do? They didn't get to go to the zoo. Should I give them another chance? Or am I a part of the problem then?