Last Saturday, an interviewer for a teaching program asked me: “As a teacher, what do you do when students need materials?” I immediately recalled a very common experience in my teaching years when children often made their pencils disappear. I don’t know if it was sometimes intentional or them just being kids. But they made a great job in disappearing pencils; I mean, not even a magician can hold a candle to students in an elementary school when it comes to making pencils vanish into thin air.
Students were always asking for pencils. Let me tell you that I would bet that you could ask ANY teacher of elementary school and they would tell you how annoying and distracting it is when pencils start flying across the classroom onto the floor. Kids will constantly interrupt the class to pick up the pencils, some like to start banging them against their desk and some will even put a ruler on the tip to start gyrating it like a fan. The riskier ones will use the pencils as weapons of mass poking others. But as teachers, we have to be very alert of signs that could develop into uneasy situations.
My recommendations would be, (and this is important for parent/teachers too):
Be very clear on your class rules since the first day begins. You are not to allow your students to play with school materials, specially pencils. Meaning: not banging them against the desk. One of the main reasons that pencils fall constantly on the floor is because they like to play with them.
But that may not be the only reason why the pencils start falling. On first graders who are learning to write and their hands are still developing their fine motor skills, pencils may constantly fall because they just don’t grasp the pencil correctly. You have to be alert that they make a firm but not forced grip when they grab their pencil.
Keep a pencil box near at all times. When I was a teacher at school, I was constantly picking up pencils from the floor and keeping them in a pencil box. I kept them sharpened and ready to use, so when a student would ask for a pencil, it would be immediately accessible to them and interruptions would be kept to a minimum.
Always look out where you walk. Accidents can happen. I once knew about a teacher who slipped with a pencil and had to go to the hospital. Her back was severely damaged by the fall and she eventually had to retire because of it. Teachers have to develop a keen eye for any signs of danger for the students and for themselves.
Remember, teachers are the ones in control of the classroom. If they lose control, students will notice. They are watching!
Have a great homeschooling week!