Thursday, September 16, 2010

If you can hear me, clap once.

Every teacher has a bag full of tricks for getting a group of students' attention.

The classroom may get too noisy during group work. The assembly hasn't quite started yet, but the conversations sure have! Going home...oh, the woes of dismissal duty. I HATE DISMISSAL DUTY! Yes, I just shouted that out loud in my head. It's the end of the day on Thursday. We don't have school on Friday. I should be ecstatic, but instead my eyes are almost crossed from the pain of this headache. Why do I have a headache?

There are more than 200 students in the cafeteria during dismissal and that is my assigned duty station. I have no control over the number of children. I am asked to keep them quiet and get them safely on their bus or day care van.

Typically, when an adult says (in a regular voice) "If you can hear me, clap once. If you can hear me, clap twice" it takes just a moment to have a completely silent room...even a large room. Not so at dismissal. The caucophony of sound is beyond anything any child cares to change. They feel as if they are free and they do not care to be restrained. There are approximately 6 adults in the room. Some of them care about the noise and the dismissal procedures. But sometimes, we just want to chat and don't pay attention to the din of sound echoing around us. Hey, it's the end of the day and we're tired, too.

My throat hurts from trying to project my voice to be heard. My head hurts from the noise and frustration of trying to get all those kiddos safely (and quickly) out the door.

Any teachers out there? Can I get an "Amen!"


  1. Ah, one of the perks of teaching high school! The dismissal bell rings, the students exit my room, and I am left alone in my quiet classroom. :)

  2. I'm sorry you have to yell over the voices of little children screaming with excitement over the end of the daay. I agree with Jill. It's great when the tone sounds, and all those children leave you in silence. Ahhhh...I have been in workshops where the leader has tried that clap once or twice business, but the middle and high school teachers keep talking, as we are asking each other, "Did he/she just try that clap once clap twice business with us?"