Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Classroom Volunteer

In the spirit of getting the heck out of the house, I signed up to volunteer at Caitlin's school. Today was my first day.

I learned very interesting things today, but foremost among them was the fact that I wouldn't last for five minutes alone with a room full of 7 year olds.


I'd want to feed them all to a critter with very large teeth.

They're in constant Brownian motion, they don't ever stop talking and they don't listen very well at all.

Teaching today is very different from when I was seated on the small chair side of the classroom. Now that I've officially outed myself as an Ancient Curmudgeon, let me note that I was pulled out of my first grade classroom (By the Evil Mrs. Carmen) by my ponytail and marched down to the principal's office for talking in class.

Don't get me wrong: it's not that I recommend the disciplinary methods from the days of yore (One teacher used to whip erasers at the heads of kids caught misbehaving in class; another used to drag miscreants out by their ear. Did I mention that this wasn't Catholic school?), it's just that it was a very different world back then and that teachers today clearly have the patience of saints. They need to be paid more to put up with all of our darling children all day long.

Yeah. Wow.

What did you do today? Alternatively, did you ever get in trouble spectacularly in elementary school? Spill!


alessa said...

I was a closeted rebel until high school. In 6th grade, I did have to be pulled off of a boy whom I was pushing up against the blackboard by his throat. They managed to get me off of him before the teacher walked back in to lead us down to the lunch room.

No one turned me in. I'm not sure if that was because my Dad was the principle. Maybe they realized I had reached the point where I was willing to get killed rather than be picked on any longer.

Yep, I was one of THOSE kids. I still have a temper I have to tamp down on occasion, otherwise I may be brought up on assault charges. That's the real reason I stay in the martial arts, to keep it under control.

Heather said...

Yep, hellions they are...gives a whole new perspective on your own kids. (Maybe they aren't soooo bad after all.) I think that teachers' options for behavior management are so restricted that they've had to learn not to sweat the small stuff. Many things are overlooked, ignored or impossible to react to with so many limitations. I'm constantly torn between drilling higher expectations into mine and simply easing up on it all.

So glad you are getting out. How did C like having you there?

Woman with a Hatchet said...

A: Wow.

H: Caitlin really got a kick out of me being there. Even though I was working at a table of 5 girls, she wasn't the one I had to focus on. The other 3 needed more convincing to pay attention. "Can you hear the teacher? Are you listening? What did she say? Please X. Please Y. Have you Z'd?" Whew!

Anonymous said...

I volunteer in Simon's classroom (kindergarten) on Thursdays. It's my favorite time of the week - and 1.5 hrs is my total limit. I do love the perspective it gives me!

I say this as a totally empathic/no punishments/crunchy mother of a really sensitive, anxious child, but I really do think that our school district puts kids' feelings at a little too high a priority. Simon has been having some anxiety issues at school and his teacher is going to extraordinary lengths to make him happy. I do appreciate that. But I also think he'd be happier and doing better if she pushed him a little. For example, he's completely capable of writing upright letter "s" but writes them consistently sideways. His teacher says nothing bc she doesn't want to hurt his feelings. However, the kid is smart and he KNOWS his "s" is sideways and it makes him feel wrong to be praised for doing subpar work. There's got to be some line in here between being mean to kids and being so kind that you don't push them to do better. Whatever happened to the good feelings that come from confronting challenge and mastering something?

It's, of course, not just my kid but rather this pervasive idea that teachers need to let things slide in order to bolster kids' self-esteem. You know, the complete opposite of when I was a kid and they thought that bringing you down to your "own size" was the answer :p

Every today I seem to do the same thing: pack something, clean soemthing and parent a lot!

ellen said...

Oh yeah, I got in trouble. In first grade mean Mrs. Greenwald made me bite a bar of soap for talking in class! She was bitter and OLD!

I have mentioned my nick name in preschool was Little Yellin' Ellen, haven't I. Maybe I deserved that bar of soap.

alessa said...

I forgot to tell you by the time I was in 6th grade, I'd had a helluvalot of being picked on as the only tall blonde in a classroom of short Native boys and girls. You name it, I've probably had it done to me.

The boy in question had looked down my shirt and said something derogatory about me and my burgeoning chest to our class in Yu'pik (which I didn't understand any longer after a year in NC). Subsequently, the entire classroom erupted in laughter. At me. I saw red. And reacted, which surprised him and everyone else in class, me included.

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