Following directions is hard.
It is especially difficult if you're a, well, a teenager.
I know this, I own this, I get this fact.
And I still sometimes forget.
Following directions is really hard.
It shouldn't be, but it is.
The other day, I was reminded of just how hard.
I stayed home sick.
Not because I was dying or bedridden, but because I had a cold...and I didn't want it to get worse.
Tired is the enemy of healthy.
I left detailed sub plans for an easy to implement lesson.
I shouldn't be surprised...
But, the kids failed utterly to follow directions.
I don't mean they behaved badly, though some did.
I don't mean they didn't try, though some didn't.
I don't mean they didn't understand, despite any claims to the contrary.
I mean, even when everything was working perfectly, they just didn't follow directions.
So the next day I taught them a lesson.
Maybe it was a tad mean-spirited, but necessary, I think.
I gave them a following directions quiz.
You know, the kind that requires you to read everything first and near the end tells you not to do most of it.
I reminded students to follow directions carefully.
It is incredibly difficult to keep a straight face while they work.
The smirk tugs at the mouth.
Then a kid gets it.
And giggles, or smirks, or looks up and grins.
Thank God an occasional kid reads directions and can share my mirth.
We can quietly chuckle as we wait for the rest of the class to get it.
I don't know.
Is it wrong to laugh?
Most of them laugh with me.
A few admit to having done the exercise before and still falling for it.
Then there are the ones that get sooooo angry.
I mean, just pissed.
Like how dare I waste their time with such foolishness...
which is covering embarrassment for failing to follow directions and get the trick.
And it takes incredible effort not to laugh at them.
Instead, I remind them to read directions.
The directions aren't there for me.
They aren't there for the sub, if there is one.
The directions are there for them.
When they try to get a car or insurance or a license or an apartment or a job or file taxes, they have to follow directions.
It is a life long habit that needs forming.
So, I get to enjoy messing with them a little to prove the point.
Only time will tell if the point sticks.
That would truly be a good thing.
For now, my amusement will suffice.