If you have ever been in a classroom that is out of control, you have probably noticed one constant...there is one kid that is crazy. I don't mean run of the mill disruptive...I mean class clown, certifiable nuts. Why are they like that? Obviously because it WORKS! My contention is very simple. If you want to get the crazy kid's attention, you have to be just a little more crazy than he or she is.
Picture with me to what that out of control classroom looks like. Now take your eyes off of that monster that is commanding the attention of the other 28 minions and concentrate on what that teacher is more than likely doing. Are they at the board? Are they meekly shushing the class or begging for everyone to use their inside voice? Why doesn't this work? Why dont they mind? The concept is as simple as watching an episode of Jackass on MTV. The truth is...crazy is fun.
So how do you combat that in the classroom? You DON'T. You use it as a tactical advantage. This does not mean you do the same stuff that the kids do. Some of that might be considered a felony or at least a transgression on the "moral terpitude" clause found in most states' contracts. Instead, find ways to BE the crazy that kids are hoping to find. It is amazing the difference in attitude that a jovial energy brings to your kingdom. That is right - It is no longer your classroom. It is now where you reign.
In my class I do not ask kids to be quiet. Instead, I ask the class to vote on whether or not someone should be allowed to continue to speak in class. See....that is CRAZY. It is amazing how the kids always side with me when it is time for someone to shut it down, too. The students will follow the crazy kid until you show yourself to be just a little more crazy. When I have that child that plays with their cell phone during class, I have them call their parent that moment and tell their guardian that they cant handle technology...while class is happening. I have yet to have a parent call me later and tell me I was out of line. I have plenty of kids that think they should play with their phones in other classes instead of mine.
Crazy works in several ways. Crazy means when you have a kid that doesnt show up to school, you have everyone in class text them, "We miss you.....are you doing ok?" at the same time to the absent student. Or you have a student in class call the student during class and allow you to get on the phone to ask where they are at. See, things like that are nuts....crazy. Crazy is fun and energetic. When you assure that the crazy person in your room is you, then there are no surprises from various factions of possible offenders in your room. Instead, everything is really under control because you are functioning in your well-organized, planned framework of crazy. You are able to thwart off the advances of the evil doers well before they have the opportunity to form their attack.
Tomorrow, be the crazy and be the teacher.
This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.