A survey: Do you (and does your school) allow gum chewing?
Background: A battle is brewing at my middle school between teachers that enforce the no-gum rule, and those who think it is a stupid rule and allow students to chew gum. The principal is telling us that it shouldn't be a school rule unless we can come to some consensus about it. Another interesting observation...the younger teachers are the ones who don't want to be "gum nazis" (their term), and the more "seasoned" teachers are the ones in favor of enforcing. So it's kinda shaping up to be a generational battle as well, which I fear will damage morale among the faculty.
Just wondering if other schools have gone through this with the gum-chewing rule or any other rule.
I have noticed that middle schoolers are the biggest gum chewers!!!! Every girl has gum in her mouth and if she doesn't, there's always a group of friends to bum one. It is a big social thing, it seems. We allow gum chewing at our school; we fight the "battle" instead with dress code and haircuts.
Now, I'm a choir teacher and DON't allow gum chewing because it hinders singing. Even though the rule is posted in two different places and I've had many of these students for three years, I have to remind at least 2 - 3 students every day, for the entire year. I even have kids who pretend to spit out their gum, or pretend they swallowed it. Or even 15 minutes later will stick another piece in their mouth. Because it interferes with singing, it counts against their grade, yet they still continue these antics. If it wasn't necessary for what I teach, it is SO not worth the battle.
I choose to focus on dress code because it's what everyone sees when they look into my room. The wrong color jacket sticks out like a sore thumb. I don't allow gum chewing but I don't make a concious effort to stop it either. The only way I do is if the kid is being disruptive. I then make sure that he unknowingly loses that privilege. When he/she suggests that others are chewing it too, I say, "I haven't noticed them chewing anything and if you had been doing what you're supposed to be doing I wouldn't have noticed you either. Now get quiet and back to work, worry about yourself and stop tattling." There's only so much you can do.
What would the penalties be for gum chewers if the rule is kept? If it isn't disruptive and is not being a hazard for shoes, I would let it go. You can always enforce the fact that gum chewing is a privilege, and abuse of privileges means they get revoked. I used to teach in a no gum middle school. Our principal's rule was- the first infraction- 200 sentences (I will not chew gum) that had to be signed by a parent. If not turned in on time or signed, the amount doubled. If the student still did not comply, they had a privelege revoked- a dance, athletic event or something fun. In my experience, those consequences worked and in the 6 years I taught there, there were probably 10 instances where a child got to the point of not being allowed to go to some kind of event.
I dont allow it in my 3rd grade class, but I do say
"When you bring a piece for everyone we will chew it!"
and occassionally I will have a student bring enough for everyone.
I do this just to prevent hurt feelings with some sharing with a few and not others.
Our principal is a believer in gum chewing during testing, she says there is evidence that it helps kids think. So we give all students gum during the standardized test.
My daughter just finished 7th grade and she had teachers that did not care, and some who made them write sentences if they had it.
certainly sounds familiar. Every year our small district goes round and round with the gum chewing rule, but every year the rule stays in our district handbook. Administrators and board members feel the rule is necessary to protect school property from being covered with chewed gum. I teach in the middle school, and we have teachers who enforce the rule and those who do not; however, I've not noticed it really being "generational". I agree that this "generational" thing could harm morale, but hopefully that won't happen. Let us know how things turn out.
But in my classroom, I say, "yes." I also believe that chewing gum stimulates the mind and I am a gum chewer as well. Having said that, they are only allowed gum that I pass out and must spit it out when they leave the room. Yeah, I 'll check if I feel like I have to.
I have better things to do than be the gum police. However, it is in our handbook that they are not allowed to chew gum. I tell the kids that I do not permit gum in my room for that reason, and if they have it they are to throw it away. I also tell them that if I notice they have gum, I will ask them to spit it out. I also tell them that if they do have gum, and I have NOT noticed it and they decide they're finished with it, they are to THROW IT AWAY PROPERLY. Once they understand that I'm not going to freak out if I see them throwing away gum, they're more likely to throw it in the trash instead of sticking it somewhere.
With that said, I hardly ever notice whether they have gum or not! If they're making loud noises, blowing bubbles, or playing with it, I notice. The "normal" chewers aren't a distraction and I don't notice.
I understand the dilemma. We have a schoolwide "no gum" rule. However, very few teachers enforce it. I try my best to do so, but it's very hard to enforce it when my students see other students in the hall chomping away. However, it's a school rule, so I try to enforce it with my students.
In our sixth grade classes (I say our because we are departmentalized in sixth grade and we both try to enforce it), if a student chews gum, first offense is a 3 page report (front and back counts as 2 pages for us). Second offense, the report is doubled. Our principal wants to see the student upon the third offense.
I know research says that chewing gum can help stimulate learning, but we offer alternatives to gum, such as the students keeping a water bottle at their desk at all times, and eating a snack whenever they like as long as no mess is made and it's discreet.