Every afternoon I monitor a study hall last period. The array of students differs from day to day depending on the students' schedules, but for me the tedium is constant.
Study halls make my brain melt. Although I would gladly teach an extra class rather than draw a study hall in my schedule rotation, I have learned that study halls are part of the educational cross that I must bear.
Here at our school, the responsibilities of the study hall monitor are as follows:
1) Keep control of the students, maintaining order, quiet, and discipline. (check)
2) Be sure each student is working constructively and not sleeping. (A bit harder to police, but for the most part... check)
3) Administer homework help on an as-needed basis. (please no, not math, no)
4) Keep self from letting the monotony and tedium turn brain to blancmange. (meh)
The bulk of today's story concernes Responsibility #3: Homework help. I have two boys in particular who (occasionally) have actual homework help questions but more often will raise their hands to ask any and every question that their little brains can churn up in order to keep a dialogue going.
ACTUAL QUESTIONS FROM TODAY:
1) What the homework?
2) I go fill up my water bottle?
3) 'Scuse me Miss, uh may I go fill up my water bottle?
4) What your favorite book?
5) You like Girl Scout cookies?
6) What you favorite flavor?
7) What does conterminous mean?
8) May I go to the restroom?
9) May I get a drink of water?
10) May I get a Tylenol?
11) May I go get some glue? (Who knows.)
12) What is a bison?
13) What is a geranium?
14) May I go get a tissue?
15) May I ask [another student] a question?
16) Do you know when the next [service project] is?
17) Have you graded our essays yet?
See if you can tell where Child #1's questions leave off and Child #2s begins. Yes, all of the above questions were asked by two students within the space of about fifteen minutes, at the end of which time I pronounced a moratorium on questions for the remainder of the period and settled down to grade aforementioned essays.
* * *
Speaking of questions, one of my 9th grade students was just telling a story about his older sister, who is in college. Their parents are flying from Miami to Bermuda today, and she asked them if they had a connecting flight, then couldn't understand why the entire family was laughing at her. I had to restrain myself from reminding him that he used to ask such foolish questions himself before he came here to our school and took a geography class, a subject which we still consider compulsory.