Several years ago I read an interesting book by Malcolm Gladwell called “The Tipping Point”. The tipping point is the level or point in time at which change becomes unstoppable. Think of it as the first time you realized that there were more DVDs than VHS tapes on the shelf at your local movie dealer. The “tipping point” for change was probably earlier than that, but you noticed it one day and knew that soon the VHS would be history.
There are tipping points for almost anything- good, bad, and in between. Sometimes we notice them and sometimes they go totally unnoticed. We just wake up one day and wonder what happened.
I was reminded of this phenomenon this week when my class returned from our break. I’ve written before about “group dynamics” and how the absence of one child can make or break a classroom. Well, let me tell you right now that the absence of two students has proven to be the tipping point for my class and I’m loving it!
First of all, let me just say that there wasn’t anything wrong with either of the students and I’m sorry that they had to move mid-year. In fact, both were very intelligent, charming guys and I enjoyed them. They were also two of my best readers! I would have kept either one of them and sent home a couple of the others. I’m just saying… J
However, the two together were never a good combination. And their conflicts upset a couple of my other students. They were also very vocal and each kept a group of students around them talking and distracted. One of the students often interrupted morning circle to make comments or complain about something. The other often cried during the day for a variety of reasons.
I noticed the effect of their absence Monday because it was just so much quieter and calmer in my room. I attributed some of that to fatigue and to the students’ happiness at being back with their friends. I also gave them very little work on Monday and we did a couple of fun projects- my way of easing the transition.
Yesterday we jumped back into our regular schedule, normal work load, etc. I even tried a couple of activities that had been problems before, specifically because of the actions usually associated with my two guys. Everything went the way it was supposed to, without conflicts. You can imagine how this new situation affects me. Less conflict resolution gives me more time to teach. Less conflict makes me calmer!
An added benefit was physical. With two boys gone I now have eleven girls and four boys. The boys are more isolated from each other because they are now at the four corners of the room without the other two boys in between. The only word I can think of for my remaining boys is “subdued”. Poor guys know they had better be good or the girls, especially my little “moms” will be all over them. Lol This has never happened before in my classroom. This is the first year that more than half of my enrollment has been girls.
A group of any kind is never perfect, but this group is certainly far better than it was before January. It is happier, quieter, calmer, and more focused on learning. We’re unstoppable now!!
Have a great day!
Note: I failed to mention Monday that my favorite foods list is in the left column. Be sure to read it and give me your input and suggestions.