Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More on "Stall Day"

Yesterday I wrote about a plan at a Pittsburgh high school to raise money by allowing students to force their teachers to count coins instead of teach.  Well, apparently they weren't the first school to think this as a good idea (hat tip: CP).  Here's a video from another school that's apparently done this already:

update: the video (actually, the whole site) seems to be working on and off.  In case it's not working while you're reading this post, here's a synopsis: The video seems to be a promotional pitch for "stall day" aimed at kids in a high school.  They show a classroom with a teacher teaching when two kids raise their hands and gleefully yell "it's stall day!".  They then proceed to dump a bunch of pennies on their teacher's desk and make remarks as their teacher proceeds to count and roll the pennies instead of teaching class.

A few things caught my eye in this video:

1.) Students can donate very little money and waste a lot of class time (how long would it take you to roll, say, 200 pennies?)

2.) The glee the students take in stopping class is troublesome.  I would've felt the same way when I was a teenager, but adults have a responsibility to teach kids that learning is a reward -- not a punishment -- if they want them to succeed in school and in life.  And actions speak louder than words.

3.) In some schools, allowing the kids to tell the teachers what to do for a few minutes might be a cute idea.  But in many schools it's not.  In schools already overrun with discipline problems (i.e. run by the kids), empowering kids to treat their teacher like dirt for a few minutes isn't going to help the situation.

4.) I'm even more convinced that this is the second-worst school fundraising idea I've ever heard.


RDT said...

Leaving aside the particular fund-raising technique, I have problems using class time for fund-raising.

It could plausibly make sense in an "investment" sense. But unless you can argue that this type of fundraiser would bring $10-$20 per student more than an out-of-class fundraiser, even the economics, don't work out.

It's not just a failure to send the right message to students -- it's a failure of the adults involved to see class time as something valuable.

Attorney DC said...

I don't know. After reading your previous post, Corey, it looks like the teachers voted to have Stall Day the day before Xmas Break -- which is usually a pretty lax day in any case. Also, teachers can set their own rules (for example, to only allow Stalls for the first 10 minutes of class). I think it sounds sort of fun... But it does encourage kids to bring in lots of change rather than a dollar bill (or more). Do you know what the money's being used for?

Corey Bunje Bower said...

The money is for a student service-learning club.

I realize that making the last day before Christmas break a little more lax probably isn't the end of the world, and the money is for a good cause. But I don't understand why a school would choose to send the message to kids that learning is to be avoided at all costs (literally).

Sasha M. Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sasha M. Harris said...

Is it me or are there some subtle and not so subtle racial politics at work here? I find it pretty disturbing that these, rather obnoxious white students gleefully drop a handful of pennies (not even a significant amount of money) in front of their African American teacher (who looks completely dispirited). And then, the obligatory "Rocky" soundtrack in the background as the teacher sits rolling the coins while the boys stand over him like frat-boys watching a pledge chug beer from a funnel for the first time. I felt pretty sick watching the, what I can only assume was a, school-endorsed video.

Of course, the obvious question for me is, how does this poor teacher consent to such humiliation?

Isis Marie said...

Sorry for commenting so late, but my school is just having a Stall Day fundraiser this Friday, the half day before break. We're only making teachers count the coins - not roll them - and the money goes towards the Key Club, for Project Eliminate: a UNICEF-Kiwanis partnership that works towards eliminating maternal-neonatal tetanus in other countries. Vaccination for a mother and child costs only $1.80, so even if every student brings in a penny, we're saving a life already. Also, the fundraiser is voluntary; if the teacher is giving out a test or essay, they don't have to participate. But we encouraged teachers with little to do or a flexible schedule to consider participating.

That's just my experience.