Every once in a while, I tell my partner a story and we remember that students do view me as an authority figure. I mean, yes, I am, but I tend to act more like “the cool aunt” (as a student once called me) than a harsh authority figure. I get things done and get students to listen to me by being a firm, but generally easy going, person. After all, if they aren’t breaking rules or are going to hurt themselves/others then it isn’t something worth raising my voice over.
Today, I caught three students playing a computer game. All the students know that they aren’t supposed to be on video games during class time. I’ve caught them before, but generally, if they’re quiet and not bothering anyone, I’ll ignore it. If it is 10 minutes until the end of the day, and their work is all done, then fine. These students tend to play a warfare game and they are all in JROTC, so it is a little like doing class work. Today, it was last block and I hear “F*** you killed me!” across the library. I storm over, look at all three of the students, and say “Turn off the computers, push in your chairs, you’re going to clean the library.” They didn’t even complain; they knew they had been in my good graces and will be again by tomorrow. They shut down their computers, picked up trash, and windexed the tables and windows. All in 20 minutes.