A Problems and Solutions View of Afternoon Assembly


I just took a big sip of wine. (Idle question—when does a big sip become a gulp?) I’m hoping the taste of wine (or maybe the alcohol content) will wash away the memory of this afternoon’s Third and Fourth Grade Assembly. (Not so idle question—do I have another bottle? Also, should that be capitalized?) In the spirit of text structure (just finishing our nonfiction writing unit!), I thought I’d try presenting my slice in a problem/solution structure.

Problem: A student took offense when another classmate noticed that he wasn’t joining the line and commented on it. He turned around and stomped away as we walked into the cafeteria.
Solution: Sadly, cloning hasn’t proven a viable option yet, so I’ll go with Plan B–Ask the Vice Principal to go find him and bring him to Assembly. (Successful!)

Problem: E. approaches me as we’re sitting down and whispers, “Mrs. Hogan, X. just drew a football on the wall in the hallway on the way to assembly. I’m not sure what he used.”
Solution: Thank E. Note to self: Look for graffiti footballs on the way back to the classroom. (Found said football later. It seems to have been “drawn” lightly (maybe even with an eraser?) and looks like it will be easy to remove. Another note to self—mention this to the Vice Principal and make sure to have X clean that up tomorrow.)

Problem: P,D, and Q immediately start talking and raising a ruckus when they sit down.
Solution: Have D move to sit at the end of the line. (Mixed success. Overall D does relatively well there, but in the middle of Assembly the Principal has to approach him and remind him to be at zero volume and not repeatedly throw small objects into the air and catch them. P and Q have less success.)

Problem: As Assembly starts, Q (or was it P?) loudly emits gas. Starts to laugh and emits more. Bursts into hysterics, accompanied by P.
Solution: After giving them a minute or two to get over it (didn’t work), I give Q and P stern looks and a reminder to be quiet. (Totally unsuccessful—why I thought it would work, I can not say.)

Problem: Q and P pull their shirts halfway over their faces and continue to laugh loudly and whisper comments.
Solution: Move Q to the other side of me. (Partially successful–He argues about this but not too loudly and more or less remains there, only inching slightly toward P whenever I’m not looking.)

Problem: Q and P make faces around me and continue to encourage each other to laugh. I consider sending them to the office but realize that would probably be even more disruptive.
Solution: I wish I knew.

Problem: The Principal recognizes that students have been sitting a long time and encourages them to shake their shoulders and necks. X. really gets into this.
Solution: Remind X. that he’s done a really good job being a respectful audience member up to this point and that Assembly is almost over. (Totally unsuccessful–just keep reading.)
Note: Later I found out that while I had been up front presenting certificates “good” would not have been an appropriate adjective to describe X’s behavior.

Problem: P and Q continue to whisper and call out to each other.
Solution: I tell P to move to another location further down the class line. P balks but my mean teacher look must have been minimally effective and he finally scoots off smiling the whole way. (Successful!)

Problem: X decides to applaud with his feet while lying on his back. The nice (horrified) audience member behind me mouths the words to me, “Oh, you poor person.”
Solution: Calmly remind X that this is not appropriate audience behavior and prompt him to sit up. (Limited success: He does sit up but then begins to turn in circles on his butt.)

Thankfully at about this time Assembly ends and it’s time to head back to the classroom for dismissal. Gee, that was fun! I can’t wait for next month!

11 thoughts on “A Problems and Solutions View of Afternoon Assembly

  1. Lisa Keeler says:

    I love the voice, the humor and the use of parentheses in this slice. We can all relate to those teaching/ teacher/ school moments we’d like to forget with a gulp, er… sip of wine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I feel for you. These behaviors sound so frustrating. How does your building deal with behavior issues in general? Do you use a PBIS system? Just asking because I do not see much evidence of PBIS working…..there is little transfer of the expectations, even if they are school wide – between staff or situations (like assemblies) and especially if there is a substitute. I hope your next assembly is better. Maybe they can stay back in the classroom with an EA and totally miss it – sounds fair to me. It would probably be much for enjoyable for all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      We use a mix of things to deal with behavior issues–PBIS and CPS are front and center. I do think these work with most kids but this year we’re exploring other options for some in my group. Fingers crossed that the next assembly is better–I’ll certainly mix up the seating order!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. dmsherriff says:

    this is hysterical in a “glad it’s over” – “tomorrow’s a new day” kinda way! well written, capturing the details making me see it all going down! you deserve that wine!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Elana Waugh says:

    I love the structure of this post. I might have to try this. And I am not a fan of assemblies either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It was actually quite fun to write in this structure, Elana. I hadn’t really planned it, but partway into writing, it occurred to me that it might work, so I restarted. (It must have been those text structures in my brain!) I’m thankful something fun came out of that assembly! Ack!


  5. kd0602 says:

    Makes me wonder who these assemblies are for. Maybe the solution is to rethink the assembly, might change the behavior.


    PS. Love your voice in this piece. Wonder what it sound like narrated by PD and Q? 🤪

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Luckily, we only have assembly once a month (K-2 has it weekly!), and this was a pretty engaging one with another class presenting a Readers’ Theater. I laughed (and shuddered) when you asked how the piece might have sounded when narrated by P,D,Q and X. Oh, my!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So many teachers have lived variations of this afternoon. These are priceless moments to be added to your book on classroom teaching. Love the format.

    Liked by 1 person

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