I give my students passes at the beginning of the year. If they need more as the year goes on they “buy” them with tickets that they earn for things such as doing problems on the board for the class, helping me or another student, doing an excellent job on an assignment, etc. Our school doesn’t allow extra credit so the tickets are a fun way to motivate them. I will write a post about tickets soon.
I give them the following passes for the entire year:
– Late homework pass x3
– Late notebook check pass x2
– Late materials check pass x2
– Exit pass (for bathroom, locker, etc) x4
– Grumpy pass x1
The Grumpy pass is my favorite thing. It allows the student a day to just be left alone by me. They can go sit at a lab table or in the prep room, put their head down and I will leave them alone. It can’t be used on a lab or test day. They are responsible for coming in at lunch the next day to make up whatever they missed.
Students rarely use them but once in a while a girl will come in crying because her boyfriend broke up with her at lunch, or a boy comes in upset that he didn’t make the baseball team, etc.
I think it is important to recognize that everyone has a day when they just REALLY need someone to give them a break. The students really appreciate and respect this acknowledgement of them being people. Students struggle outside of school with their lives, and get little sympathy or understanding from their teachers. We know that not making the team is not the end of the world, but to them in GENUINELY feels like it is.
Wouldn’t you appreciate it if your boss gave you a Grumpy pass? Not going to lie…there was a BAD day last year where I just looked at my students and said “I need to use my grumpy pass today…” They were wonderful to me. They worked silently all period without direction. They were willing to give me a break when I needed it because I was willing to do the same for them. You have to find little ways to seem caring and human to your students.