Saturday, June 26, 2010

Poor Ben

Just spent a frustrating half hour watching a show called Kindergarden on HBOF-W.  Original showing was in 2001 and all I can say is I hope to hell the teacher on the show is no longer teaching.   Poor Ben.  This little guy was adorable and just needed a teacher who understood.

My God, all she did was 'Blah, blah, blah, bah blah". And so much of it was all about her.  "I am so disappointed.  I am having trouble teaching with you in the room."  Was she trying to use 'I' statements?  Did she think that would help out this little guy?  She was also big on pulling Ben out of the group and timing him out.  No reteaching, no examples, no engaging Ben in positive activities, no practicing with his peers.  Just a bunch of lecturing and demeaning scolds.  And to top it off she sent a horribly nasty note home with Ben to his parents about how nasty he was that day after he had to meet with the principal!  Are you kidding me?  From where I sat, Ben was just a little short on impulse control.  He was sweet, and seemed genuinely confused.  He was not hurtful.  He was annoying, but not hurtful.  He was smart and personable and just a regular little kindergardener trying to figure it out and get along.

Here is the perfect example of a teacher thinking that if the student could repeat back what the right choice would be, he could follow through and actually do the right thing.  Some kids can give you the right answer all the time and put that into action.  Other kids can give you the right answer but cannot walk the talk. Some kids know the right thing to do and do it. Some know the right thing to do and WON'T do it. Some kids know the right thing to do and CAN'T do it.  Some kids don't know what to do. 

Turning what one knows to be the right choice into action is really hard for some kids.  It's our job to figure it out why and then how to help them along.

The absolute wrong thing to do is to talk, talk, talk and use guilt and personal disappointment as the motivator.  You run the risk of kids internalizing all sorts of negative things about themselves.  Once a kiddo starts believing there is something wrong with him/her, you have a long and hard road to changing that belief.  And it is from that belief that many more wrong choices are made.  This is a horrible thing to do to a kindergardener who is actually doing his best.

So, why am I so agitated by this?  All the rage is bubbling up again.  We make so many mistakes with kids and then consequence them for not turning out like we think they should.  

I guess it is simply the injustice of it all that gets me.  Way too much of this going on.

Let's be more careful out there, people.

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