Rafe Esquith, who teaches Shakespeare to low-income Hispanic and Korean fifth graders in Los Angeles, has come out with a new book, Real Talk for Real Teachers: Advice for Teachers from Rookies to Veterans.
It includes a dialog on responsibility on the first day of class, writes Jay Mathews in the Washington Post.
A student asks to go to the bathroom. Esquith asks him whether he’ll run or slide down the stair railing. The student says he’ll walk.
Rafe: Why? Is running a bad thing? I love to run!
Rafe: There are wonderful places to run and make noise. Can anyone name some of them?
The class: The playground .?.?. the beach .?.?. the park .?.?.
Rafe: Exactly. So why are we walking quietly to the bathroom?
Student: You don’t want me to get hurt or disturb other classes.
Esquith asks the student if he’ll fool around in the bathroom, perhaps throw a wet paper towel on the ceiling or on the floor. The student says he’ll go, wash his hands with soap, throw the towel in the garbage and return.
Esquith asks what would happen if the student broke his trust by “running, disturbing the school or fooling around in the bathroom?”
Student: I won’t be able to use the bathroom anymore.
Rafe: Nope. Of course you can go to the bathroom. But you will have to be accompanied by people to watch you, as you would not be ready to do things yourself yet. I think you are. Do you think you are?
He lets the student go to the bathroom. (Let’s hope it’s not too late.)