I’m far less tired today than I was all last week, so maybe I am adjusting to the reduced sleep levels of the school year. The three-day weekend did not hurt, either.
I’m starting to get a feel for the flow of the new schedule in the library. I kind of knew what to expect–quieter on the bookends of the day, and crazy in the middle–but the reality is still an adjustment. We had morning and last period classes as well, so it was busy all day, but it’s the times when the whole middle school has a study hall that get the most hectic.
Today I ended up booting some kids out of the Makerspace during help/collaboration time because they were messing around with multiple batteries again (after one amused warning and another less amused one, both last week), and I’m not sure I can keep the space open during that time. We have so many kids wanting book recommendations, I get pulled out of the Makerspace, and if I can’t trust them to be safe in there without me being in there, I can’t keep it open when I might get pulled away. What I suspect is that I ultimately can trust them, but they need a consequence (having it closed for a day or two) to know I’m serious. (I do not want to give out demerits. Ugh.) Maybe multiple batteries aren’t even dangerous, but since I don’t know, I’m not okay with it, and it’s as much the principle of them doing something that I had explicitly asked them not to do. It was disappointing, but at the same time, they are 12-year-old kids, and they are curious. I want them to be curious, and I want them to try out things and learn that way. But we already learned what happens when you put 7 batteries together! We know the answer to that question! As I came in, one kid was already trying to get the ones who were doing it to stop–he was one who I had spoken with last week about it. One problem with closing the space entirely is that it punishes everyone for the misdeeds of a handful, so I need to think some more on it before I decide on the best course of action.
On the flip side, the lunch/recess crew, who were either SEW for SOSing or messing around on computers, were fine without supervision. I was sitting close by eating my lunch, but they worked independently, helping each other out when help was needed, doing an excellent job of cleaning up when they were done. It’s not quiet–they are silly and energetic–but I don’t worry that someone is going to start a fire!
I want both kinds of energy in the space–I don’t see them as good vs. bad at all, but just different energies. (And there are some kids who are in both groups!) I just need to figure out better ways to channel the curious “what would happen if we did X?” energy, or better systems for control/safety. It could be as simple as storing the batteries in my desk, but I really don’t want to go down that road. I want the kids to own the space, and own it responsibly. Maybe I need to have a sit-down with them and have them help come up with rules and a system themselves. BINGO! That idea just came to me as I writing, but it is so logical! I do believe they can handle it and will rise to the challenge.
It’s only the 5th day of school. Bumps in the road are part of the journey, right? I’m learning as I go just as much as they are, which is as it should be, I suppose.