I have three professional-grade, electric pencil sharpeners. These are, in my opinion, the cadillacs of the pencil sharpener world. It only takes 4 seconds to go from broke tip, to sharp awesome-ness. But, still I have a love/hate relationship with them.
From the moment open-working time begins in my classroom until it is time to clean up, it seems these sharpeners run constantly. The kids have no respect for whether I am talking or not, and will cram their pencils in the sharpener over and over and over again. Also, they will allow their pencil to sharpen for thirty seconds or more each time. I have no idea if this is because their homeroom classroom teacher's sharpeners are old and busted. . .or what. . .But, IT. DRIVES. ME. NUTS.
Now, I've done the whole "how to use the sharpener" discussion. I've made rules about not running the sharpener when I'm addressing the class. But, the kids easily forget these rules. I think this is because it isn't being reinforced in their homeroom (and it may not need to be). So. What to do? Because, it has been driving me crazy!!!
I've also recently found out that the middle school and high school students lose behavior points when they forget to bring a pencil to their academic classes. When my school began, it told families that the school would provide all paper, pencils, and school supplies for students, so the parents would not need purchase these items. This statement has never been revoked. So, while our budgets have gotten smaller, the students and parents still expect us -the teachers- to provide school supplies. Sooooo, lots of my middle and high school students don't have pencils. And, when they are in art class, they swipe mine. I think I've purchased over 1400 pencils since August. And, there are about 30 pencils left. No Joke.
Finally, I lost it! I got so angry about the pencil/pencil sharpener situation that I knew I had to act!!
My mom gave me a huge box of golf pencils she had left over from a charity event. I hid all of my electric sharpeners and put out a handful of hand sharpeners.
Here is what happened:
1. No one wants to steal the golf pencils. They work great. The little kids are charmed by how wee they are, and none are walking out of my classroom.
2. No constant, aggravating electric pencil sounds!
3. Only one-two kids sharpen a pencil in class. Interestingly enough, it appears that when you have to manually sharpen a pencil yourself, it is less likely to happen. lol.
Here is what I learned:
1. A pencil is a pencil. But, a short one w/o an eraser isn't worth stealing.
2. The lack of loud noises has made a HUGE difference in my classroom management.
3. Kids really were using the pencil sharpener to waste time.
MWHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA! The Art Teacher Wins Again!