In “Lets Fix the Kids” Dr. Jones reminds us that children aren’t concerned with our mental health. He’s talking about our “OWN” children, but I think it applies to teachers and their relationship with their students as well, after all, I don’t think there’s any question that we spend more time with their children than some parents. And they (the kids)AREN’T concerned with our mental health.
So I’m crazy. But it’s not my fault. but being crazy can be so fun and liberating.
A couple of days ago this one particular thorn in my side (child) came up missing. We had been on the playground for recess, playing with a couple of other classes. When we got back to class, I was one student short. I finally narrowed it down to one missing girl. I sent a couple of kids to check the bathroom and she wasn’t there. As I was reaching for the phone to call the office, I got a call from the health office. Without permission, or telling anyone she just decided to take herself to the nurse.
I have made it VERY clear to my students that they don’t leave the class, they don’t leave the room, they don’t go ANYWHERE without me knowing about it and giving permission. So, while she was at the nurse’s office I took the rest of the class down to the teacher’s lounge where I had a bunch of Otter Pops in the freezer. We were all eating them when she came out of the Office, and no, she didn’t get one.
Sometimes I do fun things on the spur of the moment, just so I can exclude certain kids from the activity. When I first started teaching, I hated to see a cute little kindergarten kid cry. It almost broke my heart, and it felt SO validating to give them a little cuddle, and dry their tears.
That didn’t last long.
I learned in a hurry that it was counter productive. I think it is a sign of our times, but there is this whole movement in society to avoid responsibility. I read this article in the paper a couple of days ago, where some “scientist” was suggesting that people’s sense of right and wrong is genetic. You’re good because you have “good” genes. Bad or evil because you have “bad” ones. So I’m all about consequences. I found myself giving them the lecture the other day (because one of my kids was trying to get out of timeout by saying he was sorry) about running out in the street and getting hit by a car. Sure you can be sorry all day but you are still going to be hurt. Being sorry you burned yourself with matches is nice, but you still have the burn, etc, etc. Their eyes always glaze over during this lecture, but I feel good.
So now if they cry, that’s good. Oh sure, if they are hurt, I still like to get validated by being nurturing. but if they are crying because they are in trouble because of something they did, that’s a different story. I’d rather have them cry in my room any day than send them to the office because they did something wrong, and have them come back with candy……