Avoidance and delaying tactics (ADT)

I am a keen writer. I love English lessons and grammar checks, spelling tests and reading tasks… unfortunately for me, I have a class full of maths lovers and writing haters. 😫

My class do not like writing, at all. No matter how hard I enthusiastically prance about the front of the classroom spitting out noun phrases and BOYS sentences in an attempt to inspire them with their own writing. They just don’t want to write. They don’t see the point now we have iPads to type on or smart phones at home we can use to type on instead. I get their point completely. Unfortunately for them though, I get paid according to how much progress they make in their writing each year. At this rate, I’m going to be shit poor this time next year…

My class hate writing so much that they will literally count squares on the ceiling than write a coherent paragraph about an animal from Guatemala! They have a severe case of ADT (avoidance and delaying tactics) when it comes to extended writing. Today is just a prime example of my class at their finest. 

“In your Non-Chronological Reports today, (NCR) please remember to include those subheadings you have planned this week.” I then go so far as to model using a subheading and starting my paragraph underneath said subheading. Walking around the room I notice that not many children are writing…why aren’t they writing? We’ve planned this. We’ve talked about this. They know what a report looks like, we’ve read so many over the past 2 weeks, why aren’t they writing yet?

“Miss, what’s a subheading again?” – ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME??

I ask around the class and rely on my mini me to re-explain what a subheading is to the entire class now. Before we set off again, I double check that everyone knows what they are doing. Yes. Anymore questions? Oh yes, here we go…

“Can I go to the toilet please?” – “we’re only 45 minutes into the school day, why do you need to go to the toilet already?” – “I’m desperate.” So I let her go to the toilet and ask whether anybody else has a sensible question to ask. More hands fly up. They all want to go to the toilet too!?? I put an end to that and declared that nobody else will be so lucky as to visit the toilets before playtime now, not until they have finished writing their report. So we try again. Still not everybody is writing.

“What exactly is my report supposed to be about Miss?” – “Be quiet and get on Tigger!” He puts his head down, writes a few words and saunters over to me with his book. “I’ve finished.” He declares. I look at his half sentence and sigh. “What is this?” – “My report. It’s about spider monkeys.” All he has written is “Spyda munkeys cool” no full stop. No spell check. No making sure it makes sense or is at least a full sentence. I give up at this point and start silently sobbing on the inside. 

Handing his book back to him, I send Tigger back to try writing an introduction paragraph to his report. Just like the one I’ve left on the whiteboard at the front! I spin around and catch a glimpse of the laziest writer in my class frantically scratching away at his page. He’s written a fricking title, an introduction paragraph ANNNND! is now starting his first subheaded paragraph. I stand and watch as he starts a new line for each sentence in his paragraph before I step in and advise him to keeep his sentences together just like his introduction from yesterday. He nods and cracks on. I beam with pride for a few seconds before Tigger is back beside me and making annoying noises. I check his introduction question and smile. He’s forgotten to use a question mark in his question, but that’s OK, because…what else would I expect from my class of unenthusiastic writers? 

I send him back to start a subheading and a paragraph about jaguars…meanwhile some other children have picked up the pace and have started writing decent looking NCRs. From a distance… In an instance, Tigger is back beside me, showing me his fingers. He’s pulled some skin off the cuticle and is now bleeding. I instruct him to get a tissue and carry on writing. He isn’t dead yet. He can carry on with it. I wander to a different table and two children appear to be in a heated debate over whether a sentence needs a question mark or full stop at the end. I jump in and put the Oracle straight. He isn’t asking a legitimate question, in his writing, he’s writing a descriptive statement about ocelots, he needs to use a full stop. My mini me chimes in with, “see I told you so” to which I reply, “you can’t blame him for arguing with you though. You haven’t used a single full stop or capital letter in your writing yet.” – And she’s supposed to be my best writer!! 

So the lesson continues with children getting up for drinks, fighting over who can use the rubber next and checking out each other’s warts and rotten fingernails…the delights of working with children…

What exactly do I need to do, to inspire my class to write a decent piece of extended writing??🙄

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