Last Sunday, many students began to dread the idea of having to go back to school after winter break. Taking notes about the present perfect tense and learning about the quotient rule did not sound nearly as fun as not having to be at school for 17 days. This was the way it was for most students, but not all. The students in Mr. Tranbert’s 6th period English class all knew that they had at least a couple of days of off-topic discussions before actual schoolwork was going to start up again.
As students arrived on the first Mon- day back from break, it was not hard to ensure that the entire period would be taken up by random conversation. The beginning of the period started off with the typical winter break whip-around that takes place in many classes. “Even though almost every person said that they ‘just slept in and hung with friends,’ the discussion about doing nothing lasted all the way through the middle of the period Tuesday.
By Wednesday, the class knew that they needed to team up in order to make sure they didn’t do any actual work the entire week. Just as Mr. Tranbert would begin to say, “Alright, now let’s get to talking about Pygmalion,” everyone would ask him about his children. “What kind of activities did you do with your family over break?” one kid that knew the secret to staying off topic blurted out. Hunter, the kid that brought this up, knew that talking about Mr. Tranbert’s family (and his favorite restaurants and about how much of a foodie he was) were things he could ramble on for a long period of time.
The class was able to make it to al- most the end of the day on Thursday without ever opening up their note- books or books before Mr. Tranbert started to get angry. “Guys, I know we haven’t done too much this week, but as soon as we get to class tomorrow, I promise we are talking about chapters 3-8.” Still, no one was too fazed. “It’s for a grade, guys. I’m not dealing with any of this behavior for the rest of the semester.” Even though he thought that threat might work, nothing shifted in the minds of the students in the class.
Finally, Friday rolled around and no binder or pencil case had been disturbed all week. “So what are we doing today, Mr. Tranbert?” one student asked sarcastically. “We are going to have a graded discussion on chapters 3-8 of Pygmalion.” Just as the students in the class started to think their dream of not doing anything the entire week was about to end, Mr. Tranbert saved himself. “But first, it’s my wife’s birthday this Sunday, so I’m going to need you guys to brainstorm some ideas for a good place to take her.” Instantly, the goal of talking about winter break and non-school related stuff for the entire week was guaranteed. Nothing like the taste of victory after a hard fought week of doing nothing.