I’m throwing this question out there and I want your feedback. Here’s the scenario:
Every day, my kids line up outside my room on the crowded deck (my school has no buildings, as I’ve discussed) and patiently wait to be let in. I open the door, greet them with a smile and some brief conversation, and let them chat a bit as they walk in. There are directions on the board (the same ones every day – copy down homework begin Independent Reading). The kids take about 1-2 minutes to finish shuffling/talking and get settled. Independent Reading starts. I play music softly. I check homework. Life is good.
Today I was told that any talking during an entrance procedure is not allowed at my school, because students need to enter a classroom knowing it’s a place where they will be learning every second. This was all built within the “high expectations” context (i..e, by lowering my expectations for a silent entrance, I’m not setting my students up for success).
I’m conflicted. On one hand, I understand the high expectations thing; obviously I subscribe to it otherwise I wouldn’t be teaching here. But on the other hand…my kids are in eighth grade. They spend two hours straight in my classroom, every day. Their only time for socialization is the four minutes right before my class (excluding purposeful group/partner work in my class). I remember my own English classes being relaxed and warm places, where I could laugh and cry and push myself because I wasn’t being told I couldn’t talk as I walked in.
What are your thoughts? Is it okay for students to talk as they walk in, assuming they get right down to business with minimal redirection (as has been the status quo this year)? Am I being a slacker of a teacher? Is October getting to me?
EDIT: Thanks for the feedback, all! Not to worry – I was never implying that I would “pick this battle” or even seriously air grievances to my admin, because I understand the rule and I’m dedicated to following school-wide procedure. I was just curious as to outside-of-my-school opinions. I always like to broaden my thinking a little bit by trying to see as many perspectives as possible.