First date methods that work in the classroom

Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2011

By JASON MAYFIELD / Guest Columnist

Beginning a new school year as an instructor is sort of like approaching a girl for a first date. There are several approaches…

“Shock and Awe” — In dating, the guy shows off a car or cash — the duo work well together — in an effort to win the girl. In the classroom, the teacher begins with the lights dimmed, a well-developed PowerPoint or movie clip ensues, and then all the several dozen tech gadgets around the room sing out, “You will love this class!”

“Friendship” — In dating, the person starts as “just friends,” plotting that moment when a date can be proposed. In the classroom, the teacher smiles and says something like, “I’m so glad you’re all going to be in my room this year. We’re going to have so much fun!” Note, this method is traditionally found in classes with younger kids. It can also be heard from some first-year teachers who have no children of their own.

“Enemies” — This is the most difficult method to pull off. It works on the premise that a fine line exists between love and hate. This can work for a brief bit in a relationship. In the classroom, it’s only later, if ever, that the student realizes “Hey, maybe that teacher that yelled at the class all the time knew what he or she was doing.” Again, only a seasoned pro should attempt.

“Method to the Madness” — In dating, the research leads the person to the highest concentration of singles in the area. At the site, people are tricked into completing compatibility surveys and a “winner” is selected. In the classroom, the teacher spends the day, and the next 15 classroom days afterward, going over the “right” way to do “everything” — from dating a paper to handing in an assignment to leaving the room. Note, the unofficial rulebook of the “right” way can run upwards of 1,500 pages.

Other approaches include “Over-prepared,” “Under-prepared,” “Same line every time” and “Create a Mystery,” to name a few. Be sure to ask the student you love where his or her teacher falls after tomorrow. And “Happy Start of School Year!”

I, for one, can’t wait.

Jason Mayfield is a gifted instructor at Columbiana Middle School.