Recently, a student posted a snotty comment which put down most other students (I won’t share the specifics here for privacy’s sake). Another student almost immediately responded, calling the first student on the insult. The first student backed down.
photo © 2006 Toms Bauģis | more info (via: Wylio)
As I read the conversation, I was thinking, “What should I do about this?” I composed responses to the offending student. I tried again and again. Inevitably my responses were sarcastic and would not improve the online climate.
This is one of those times when I’m really glad to have a hybrid class. With middle school students, talking F2F is so helpful – you get the message to the student immediately, with no waiting for the student to read the posting (and email isn’t an option since middle school students virtually never check their email). And F2F you can see each others’ expressions and body language. It’s just as important for them to see my expressions as for me to see theirs.
First, I removed the offending post, which removed that whole small conversation. The first student I saw after that was the student who complained about the initial post; I thanked this student for the appropriate response, and said I had removed the conversation; this student was relieved the offensive comment was gone, and relieved to know that I thought this student’s response to it was appropriate. I then found the offending student. I told the student that the post had been removed, and why – and then reminded the student with a grin that it’s not good to put others down while misspelling one of the important words in the put down. Instead of being a tense moment, we both cracked up. The student got my message though.
And we’re back on an even keel until the next time.