Ah there it is, one of the things I found while searching how to fight apathy was to give students responsibility. I know in the past it’s worked with students I have.
My second year teaching I had a student that I routinely had to speak to about her talking when she was supposed to be listening or working who complained she couldn’t read my handwriting on the agenda/homework on the board each week. So I showed her where my plan book was and said “Ok, you can write it.” Sure enough each day she came in, got her things together, then came to pick up my plan book and wrote the agenda/homework on the board. After that I had to speak to her much less in class about her behavior.
There are fewer responsibilities I can assign in a middle school classroom but this week is Red Ribbon week and we’re having a door decorating contest in our building. Several of my academic focus students, think homeroom, wanted to work on the door. One of those is a student who rarely if ever gets work done on time. This is a student who has gotten to experience lots of Mrs. Davis’ nagging to get said work done. Yesterday the student asked if during English class they could work on the door. I told them that when they finished the essay that is due today they could work on the door. The essay was done when the student arrived at class. I looked it over and it was done well too. Such is the motivation of having responsibility. Now to find another responsibility for that student and a few others.