I had to attend a conference on Tuesday.
You all know what that means. Conference + Teacher = Substitute. Substitute + 7th Graders = Insanity.
Honestly, when The Principal asked if Mrs. Eagle, the Guidance Guy, and I could go to this I was hesitant. Did I really want to leave my monsters alone with a sub for an entire day? These same monsters, after all, had to have visits from administrators the last few times I was out because of their out-of-control behavior. However, I wanted to go to the conference, so I swallowed my fear and went ahead and booked a sub.
And that's when I got smart.
My kids had all written in their journals about all the things they wanted to look at with microscopes: salt, blood, chocolate, hair, pond water, cat fur, etc. So. I made a deal with them. If I got a good report from the sub (and I mean really good), they would earn an additional day in the lab to look at cool stuff with the microscope. The way I figured it, they could always use an additional day working with the microscopes, making slides, and it wouldn't kill me to take a day out of our schedule (we're a bit ahead of our pacing guide) to give it to them. Plus, I figured that maybe only three classes would pull it off. There was no way on earth that The Fifth Period Class From the Very Depths of Hell Itself would earn a microscope day.
The sub was a former parent of mine, so I know her pretty well, and I knew she'd do a good job and would be honest about their behavior. I even ran into her a few days before and told her about my deal with them and she loved the idea. She subs a lot in our building and knows most of the kids, which helps. She knows who to watch.
I was astounded when I saw that all five classes had earned their microscope day! In fact, even The Fifth Period Class From the Very Depths of Hell Itself, had earned it. Not only did they earn it, but they received the comment, "I could have heard a pin drop they were so good."
A little bribery can be a very good thing.
Especially when I can point out that, "See, you can be a perfectly well behaved, well-mannered class, if you simply chose to do so!"