Start of the Year Practices in 2017

By Corey Crewe
Aug. 28, 2017

I have been teaching longer than Tom Brady has been playing in the NFL… I actually started before he entered college. Yeah it has been a while.

Most teachers have a set of rules they follow before the first day of school. While I have a bunch of routines, there are three practices that seem very relevant given the modern cultural climate.

1. 25%-50%-25%

I have not had any luck in finding the origin of this quote. I recall it was a baseball manager’s strategy in dealing with new teams and keeping his job. He explained that 25% of the group will automatically love you, 25% of the group will automatically hate you, and finally 50% of the group will be unsure. He then joked that one of his jobs was to keep the undecided 50% away from the hating 25%.

When I start teaching new classes next Tuesday, I assume for every group of four; one will like me, one will hate me and two will be unsure. It is sort of fun to apply this to obvious poll questions. There always seems to be 20% voting for really wrong things.

(The Dan LeBatard Show)

The anarchist of the world refuse to swim with the current. I try to offer these students fairness without trying to convince them to conform. I try to not give the 25% who love me a reason to change their mind and I try to give the 50% my best and hope that sways them.

2. If I Don’t Say it, They Don’t Know It

I first heard this idea started with John Wooden. He believed that educators were responsible for letting students know all of their ideas and expectations. He essentially eliminated common sense and made himself accountable for distributing all of his knowledge and expectations. Once he did so, students were responsible for using that knowledge; everything from class locations to how to tie their shoes and wear their socks. During games, he rarely tried things they did not learn and review in practice. If an education makes themselves accountable, players and students will become more accountable. There is less opportunity to play the blame game.

3. The Strict 3 Weeks

My old principal in Toronto, Dianne Proctor, would start every year with the attitude, “Do not let them see you smile until Christmas.” While I find this is a lot harsh, it is essential for establishing routines and expectations. If you are too lenient, students will try to bend other rules and you end up with an avalanche of issues. It is important to establish acceptable norms and to evolve those norms. Every year I find myself improving on these ideas without thinking I have found the ultimate solution. There is no such thing as a fool proof concept.

The last of the three rules opens a neat perspective for myself in today’s climate. If a group is never restrained or forced to think about others, they create the rules to best suit themselves. Rarely will they act in a manner that considers others when no one ever holds them accountable. Professional sports leagues must put salary caps in place because owners want to win so badly they will just over spend everyone. When I hear race discussions, a lot of problem revolves around the concept that no one set a fair the of rules when the whole culture started. Now, as many maybe realizing, it is very difficult to put the toothpaste back in the tube.