A Little Breakfast. A Little Water. A Little Air. A Little Time.

Jose Vilson Education, Jose

Smiling Breakfast

A huge struggle I’m having in my class is kids coming in late. OK, it’s actually been a problem since I’ve started teaching. It’s been exacerbated by the fact that we no longer have homeroom, so students don’t feel attached to the teacher who sees them in the morning and teachers don’t feel as attached to the students (even if they still care). Every morning, I see a similar pattern: a kid walks in late, keeps his or her jacket zipped all the way up, tries to sit in his or her seat only to find it taken for the moment, gets annoyed because they lost it and I don’t give it back to them, drags their feet to an open desk, promptly opens their binders and … puts their face on the rings.

I gently whisper something to them while in the middle of the lesson like “Sit up” or “go walk it off,” but if that doesn’t work, it turns into a conversation like so:

“Yo, what’s going on with you today?”


“What do you mean nothing? Did you get breakfast?”

“I never ear breakfast.”

“What time did you go to sleep? 11? 12? 1?”

Lots of shaking heads and nodding until I elicit an answer of 12.

“Well you need to tell me something because this isn’t going to work for you. You’re too smart and you’re missing out on so much because you want to come late.”

“Oh, aight.”

“Now, tomorrow, I need you to get some breakfast, some sleep. And if not, I’m going to request that your parents help you out with that. Understood?”


Long pause and stare from my end.

“OK, get in.”

See? Flawless. My approach in the last couple of years wasn’t as spotless, but according to my CTT teacher, I get a lot of respect from this particular class. I guess so, but it’s only October. And they’re still coming in late and restless.

Jose, who appreciates all your positive responses to my recent Huffington Post article …