I have to continually ask my class why I demand that they pay attention? They show their growing frustration with me when I notice them staring, day-dreaming, picking (this is not on each other it is on themselves or their belongings), drawing, tapping, or otherwise not being attentive to my important (and short) lessons.
The reason is that I care! I generally care about them and about the adolescents they are becoming. I care that requiring them to be attentive to a 10 - 15 minute lesson is not too much to demand of a fifth grader. I care that their future motivation and successes in school may depend upon me pulling them back daily.
I care about them~all of them ~ we all do. Our kids need to to hear that more. They need to understand and internalize that we (teachers) are not the enemy to be brought down with any opportunity.
There are very few teachers that are dong this to show a gain on standardized tests. Teachers are not in this in order to practice their classroom management skills of unruly and unmotivated students at every turn. I am not sure I have seen many teachers that see the joy in filling out referrals or dreaming up impossible tasks for students to labor over. (I know that they are out there... but they are probably not reading a teacher post called 'Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy'.)
We care! How do we get them to care at all?
The unfortunate thing is that we have to make a few enemies on the way to show how much we care and to get them to care as well. Nobody likes the trainer at the time of training, but at the end of the race. Filling the savings and retirement accounts is hard, but at the time of retirement, we are more than thankful. Why is learning and education so different?
This all seems very obvious as I read it over, but I am going to post it as a reminder to anyone that takes time to read (or to any teacher that is feeling the sting of these tough times). We care and the kids need to know that is why we are who we are and we do what we do.