Tough Love

23 Mar 2009
Posted by Jordan
Jordan's picture

So last Friday one of my classes was not wanting to participate: my thoughtful and creative attempts at discussion and activity were being met with nothing but yawns by the energetic students, and snores by the less motivated.

The lesson was on health and fitness (From the textbook: ... Mike: "It really shows. You look so healthy." / Mina: "How about you? You look like you gained some weight over the vacation." ...). Anyway, I will often search YouTube for an entertaining video touching on our topic just to get the kids laughing or what have you; on Friday I found one that was somewhat disturbing (okay, very disturbing, but that's what middle schoolers love) to go along with our fitness theme. I had not shown it to the students yet, and suddenly I was struck by a brilliant idea.

"Everyone up. Out of your seats. Yes, you too. Stand up."

Gradually everyone wakes up and stands, most of them looking somewhat confused and disoriented.

I then started the video:

They start laughing. I tell them that this is serious business.

"We are now going to exercise with the video."

The students look at each other in disbelief. I can't be serious.

I glare.

Some of the students start to move their arms and legs feebly.

"Pump your arms now! Let's go!"

More feeble movements.

I let them continue in this fashion until the video finishes. Everyone sighs with relief and begins to take their seats.

"No. Keep standing."

Confusion and suspicion radiate from the lethargic mob.

I then proceeded to give an impassioned speech on class participation, lethargy, and education in general: "... and if you are not going to interact with my lesson, then we are going to exercise with the poodles. And if you do not exercise with the poodles--energetically--you will leave the classroom. The poodles, you see, are a metaphor for life: just as you must exercise energetically with them, so you must participate energetically in class..."

It was clear by the horrified looks I was receiving that the students understood my message. And so I started the video again, from the beginning, and this time everyone pumped their arms.

The end result of all this is that when we returned to our lesson, and  I repeated the question to which I had previously gotten no response, multiple hands went into the air. The students had decided that this was better than the poodle video. And I had decided that the poodle video was better than anything. It now resides permanently on my jump drive, in my pocket.





...Actually I need to share this with other people.

you crack me up

This I would have loved to have seen.
We should start a new family tradition: exercising with poodles at all family events. I'm sure Toby would find it thrilling . . .