Face to face teaching is back in full swing in Victoria, with all students over the age of 12, and all teachers, required to wear masks.
The kids generally don’t like wearing masks, and I totally get that. Still, that’s not an excuse for defiance. It’s currently a legal requirement, so whether or not we like it is a moot point.
Most of the students are quite cooperative. Some kids, though, are getting sneakier— or perhaps just less conscientious— about wearing them properly. The challenge for teachers is to find ways to remind them without being awkward or, even worse, coming across as nagging. As anyone who has tried to get a teen to do something they don’t want to will attest, that’s only ever going to create more resistance.
As I am wont to do, I have reverted to humour in addressing the problem.
When a student has their mask pulled under their nose, I tell them “don’t fly the flag at half mask”.
When someone is not wearing a mask, I say, “Oops! Your face is naked.”
When the mask is sitting under their chin, I tell them to “pull their face pants up.”
In a quiet classroom environment, or if I want to remind someone without drawing attention, I simply make eye contact, hold my hand horizontally near my chin and lift it to above my nose.
These responses engage the students by surprising the m and making them think about what I’m saying. They generally respond with a smile and then comply. The occasional student tries to argue, which invariably ends in disappointment for them.
I am always happy when it works. I was also very pleased when, while I was on yard duty, I heard one of my students tell another kid to pull his face pants up. I smiled with great satisfaction and whispered, “Good work, kid! Keep it up!” Nobody noticed, though, because I had my mask on.
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Masking Awkwardness With HumourTweet
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Note: Arguments about whether or not masks should be worn will not be entered into, and negative comments to that effect will be deleted.