“Tomorrow is Friday the 13th and a full moon. Check on your teacher friends. They are not okay.” This was one of many messages I saw as I scrolled on social media yesterday. If you can’t already tell, I don’t put much stock into these comments, but the belief in these superstitions by colleagues have affected me over the years during my career.
At the beginning of the school year during my first teaching job, I was given a calendar. It wasn’t the school calendar, but a calendar with all of the full moons marked. I scrunched up my face, puzzled. “You’re going to need this. Trust me. Kids act crazy on these days,” a veteran teacher said to me. During the week leading up to the first full moon of the school year, some of my colleagues became a bit stressed. Each day of the week, I was reminded a full moon was coming. All that anticipation for nothing. It was a normal day for me.
I’ve been in other schools where superstitions like the full moon and Friday the 13th turn into reasons to excuse student behavior. “My class is crazy today; you know it’s a full moon.” Yep, that’s teacher’s class was crazy, but let’s dig a bit deeper. It was crazy because there were not high expectations. The teacher was not actively monitoring student behavior, so students were off task. That’s the teacher’s fault not the moon.
As a teacher coach, I have heard it all when it comes to why students aren’t learning or students are behaving poorly. At the end of the day, the teacher sets the temperature of the room. If a teacher’s classroom is a hot mess or a dumpster fire, we have to go beyond service level excuses such as cursed dates and full moons.
To all those teachers blaming the moon or Friday the 13th, stop. Learning can take place on any date if the teacher has high expectations and efficient routines and procedures. Children only do what you allow. If you are allowing superstitions to rule your day, you will have an unruly class.