Most of the teachers at my school have a big problem with kids chewing gum in class. I imagine that this is an issue for teachers all over the place. The thing is, I like chewing gum. I understand the problem is that kids will stick gum under their desks and chairs. I watch some of my colleagues fight this gum war every day, making kids get up to spit it out, only to see them chewing again ten minutes later. Those same teachers hold weekly detentions with the repeat chewers to make them scrape the multitudes of blobs that appear daily under the tables and chairs.
My theory is that kids only stick their gum under things when they are chewing in class and think they are about to get caught, OR, when the flavor runs out and they can’t get up and just throw the gum away because they weren’t supposed to be chewing in the first place. I have a mutual understanding with my students. I pretend I don’t see them chewing gum, and they don’t stick it under things. I don’t allow bubbles or smacking noises, but if you want to sit and chew quietly, well, it’s fine by me. I check weekly, and I have never found gum under a chair, and have found only 6 blobs under the tables all year. When I find gum, I hold all of the kids that sit at that table until one of them gives up and scrapes it off. The last time I had to do that was December. We all know we have to pick our battles, and well, I simply couldn’t care less about the gum. In the end my system works pretty well, and I don’t have to get all stressed out about something I consider to be totally unimportant in the grand scheme of things.