1. The truth is that they know it’s disgusting and rude- that’s why they do it.
    Middle school boys are especially incorrigible and the only way to deal with this is to hit it head on and with no embarrassment. The threat of extra work might actually discourage the behavior, but only if they don’t see you become squeamish or embarrassed about it. If you show that it embarrasses you, they are likely to milk it for all it’s worth.

  2. Winifred Rosenburg

    I’ve read that one is actually not supposed to say “excuse me” or anything else when he passes gas because it is (hopefully) not voluntary so everyone, including the person who passed gas, is supposed to pretend nothing happened.

  3. Zakafury

    I agree with both of the previous comments.

    It is a very dated approach to assign a punitive essay. This practice sends the message that even the teacher feels report writing is a punishment.

    Holding the offenders after school for the conversation is a punishment appropriate to both the infraction and its motivation – it will not waste class time or give them much immediate attention.

    At the next incident, I would tell the boys “Adam, Brian, and Charlie, you need to see me after school. We will discuss responding to bodily functions, and appropriate classroom manners. If this continues, I will have Mr. Principal involved as well.” If this is not a school activity, but rather a voluntary class, parents could be involved instead of an administrator.

    When choosing the gender of the principal for my example, it crossed my mind that having a male role model present for the discussion might make the boys take it more seriously.

  4. P Wright

    Yes, it is very old fashioned to use writing as a punishment (and also involve the principal -this shows the teacher cannot handle it and the kids will figure that one out fast). Discipline means you learn something, punishment means one is just punished (and then usually does it again).

    • Jerry

      I disagree with the semantics. You punish someone just enough so that they learn there are consequences to unpleasant behavior and know not to do the offensive behavior again. (Any more punishment crosses the line to vengeance, which is verboten.) Discipline should have similar goals but, at least to me, suggests a physical punishment, such as a nun slapping your hand with a ruler.

      I like the 500 word essay, though. Alternatively, make the ring-leader stand out in the hallway and he won’t be able to participate in what is traditionally a very fun class.

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