Trying to make it matter.
I taught in a school with no PA system and no bells. I can't think of a single time I was interrupted by administrative business in the middle of a class. Even after visiting many classrooms in many schools all over the country, I still startle when the loudspeaker comes on or the door opens during a lesson. Not to say we did it well-- teachers routinely held classes over, and occasionally felt isolated and uninformed when big things were happening elsewhere in the building. Without constant reminders, we also forgot lots of administrative stuff. Which makes me wonder how we minimize disruptions to instructional time while also ensuring that there are still functional and efficient lines of communication and that good decisions are being made about what is and isn't worth communicating (immediately). Something for people smarter than me to figure out :)
"...what is and isn't worth communicating (immediately)."Yup. You hit it right on the head. If a parent is in the office waiting for a student, then maybe a phone call is appropriate. But everytime the phone rings during class, I cringe.
If that's the worst of your problems, you got it good! Each week we have a half-dozen or so e-mails for "this list of 50 kids are allowed to go to the library in the middle of school to attend their friends' athletic signing with some college." Then there's, "Please excuse the baseball team for coming to class 10 mins late this morning. They were covering the field." or "Please let out these 30 kids on the track team 10 minutes early from class so they can get to the meet on time."And those are just the athletic ones. Have you ever read the short-story Harrison Bergeron by Vonnegut (http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html)? I feel like that every time the intercom beeps.
Ah, yes, the Handicapper General. I feel like I need to teach my classes with a weight around my neck and a bag over my head. I remember those disruptions from my high school days. Don't forget the grade checks that kids ask for in the middle of class so they can play or go on a trip.
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