September the first arrived and I chose the top two students in my fifth grade class, Calvin and Melissa, to be the September Students of the Month. This was the first important honor bestowed on any of my students this year and I wanted the presentation of this award to be a serious and uplifting moment.
"Class, the month of September has arrived and I am about to announce the first Students of the Month. I have carefully reviewed test grades, quality of homework, participation and attentiveness in class, and behavior both in the classroom and on the playground. I am pleased to announce the September Students of the Month are...........................CALVIN AND MELISSA!!" (appropriate applause) "Calvin and Melissa, you are receiving this award because of your outstanding accomplishments in August. However, I want to challenge you to continue your excellent example in September, to continue leading our class to academic excellence and personal achievement as you did in the month of August."
I should have left it at that, but Calvin and Melissa just sat there. I looked at Calvin and he seemed to be in shock or something. I asked, "Calvin, did you understand what I just said? Calvin? Calvin, are you payin' attention?"
"Huh, Mr. R.?" (appropriate laughter)
I should have known what was coming. Melissa saw her chance when I asked, "Melissa, do you understand the challenge, the responsibility I have given you?"
Melissa mumbles loud enough for the class to hear, "Yeah, whatever."