doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

More thoughts about skipping

When I went to high school, I had a job as a swimming instructor and lifeguard at the local public pool.  It was a great job but it did cut into one of my loves – baseball.  I couldn’t reliably have the evenings or weekends off in order to play.  So, I had to give that up but I took up umpiring in its place.  That way, I could schedule games on days that I knew I wasn’t scheduled to work.

Now, we were serious about umpiring in the OBA and the WOAA.  We were required to wear a full umpire uniform; black pants, white or blue shirts depending upon the game and of course a mask when umpiring behind the plate.  It certainly is different from today’s with sloppy t-shirts and cut off shorts.  We just looked good.

And, it was really hot dressed like that in the summer sun.  Even today, I sympathize with professional umpires when watching games on television.

Now, there’s a great deal to be said about baseball players being superstitious.  But, how about umpires?  I had one.  Not Sparky Anderson and foul line famous but something nonetheless.

For me, with the heat, it’s that first pitch from each pitcher.  A pitch that goes wild or bounces to the plate always served as a foreshadowing of a long game.  I always hoped to be able to call the first pitch of the game a strike.  I thought that it showed the pitcher that she/he could be on top of things and would throw a good game.  The same applied to relief pitchers.

Recently, I read a parenting article that said that you should have a child make his/her bed every morning.  It wasn’t out of neatness; it was to start them off on the right foot by accomplishing something.  It’s sort of a getting off on the right foot deal.  It makes sense.

I’m thinking of yesterday’s post where I drew a distinction between younger students skipping to school and older students dragging it.

I wonder.  Could things be changed with a little superstitious behaviour?

Is there a difference in how they start their day?  Is the first thing that they do guaranteed to be positive and successful?  I think of so many ways that we start school – lining up at the bell, everyone standing for the national anthem, students forced to be quiet and listen to announcements, starting a lesson by taking up homework, and I’m sure that you can complete the list.  There’s nothing that to inspire or invigorate anyone.

What if there was a concerted effort to make sure that the day started successfully for everyone?  Things like having social conversations, introduce a new concept in the classroom that nobody saw coming, making it clear that the challenges that were there yesterday remain yesterday, …  It wouldn’t have to be major; just something that guarantees that the first thing done will be successful.

Would that be enough to get students to skip to class?


One response to “More thoughts about skipping”

  1. I think there’s something to be said for starting to day on these positive notes. We begin our day out in the forest every day. Students run, play, explore nature, socialize with friends, climb trees, solve problems, and honestly, squeal with delight … regardless of the weather. Starting on a good note outside totally changes the rest of our day. And when this time needs to get cut short for any reason — or in the extreme cold temperatures, not happen — it impacts on the rest of the day. I think there’s something to be said for beginning a day in a way that makes people happy: both you and your students. Curious to know what others think.



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