Today I let other students vote on the fate of one of their classmates. It didn’t go well for him.
The class I teach comes under various names depending on what grade I’m teaching but it all amounts to “English Conversation”. Basically the school where I work took regular English classes and split them into a grammar/government approved textbook part and a spoken English part.
Because my classes typically only meet once or twice a week, it’s common for my students to take them lightly and work on other homework.
This week there must be a test in Japanese because many of my students arrived in class with my textbook and a Japanese textbook. I gave a blanket warning reminding them of the rules and then let them get to work on the day’s project.
My rule regarding homework from other classes is quite simple: Strike One: I tell you to put it away and you lose a lot of points. Strike Two: You lose a lot more points, I take the homework and promise to give it back next week. There is no Strike Three. However, I also allow students who finish their work early to study other classes while everyone else finishes the project.
Today I seized a book within the first ten minutes of class. The student made up for it by eventually working and attempting to get bonus points for the project.
At the end of class I held up the seized textbook and put the students’ fate up to a vote. The question was “Should Mr. Lively be nice (for once)” Yes or No.
I took a vote and of the students who were actually listening to what I was saying, two, including the man whose fate was in question, voted Yes for be nice. Five voted for No for not nice.
This created a small crisis, though, when one student apparently realized I’d seized the book he’d lent to his friend. He complained he didn’t get to vote and/or had hanging chads and I held a second vote. The second time the Yes be nice vote won.
I gave him “his” book back and told him I wouldn’t be nice again.