Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Tribute

It’s enough for me to handle two kids who bicker with one another, have selective hearing, run in circles (I wish I had that energy!), and whine, whine, whine.

It’s tough enough to be a parent and exercise discipline when needed. It’s not easy. Sometimes you go through the same cycle everyday. Privileges are taken away and groundings are issued.

Today I went along with my youngest to watch her and her classmates (1st grade), along with the 2nd and 3rd graders, sing Christmas carols. I volunteered to sign several Christmas carols, too.

Parents volunteered to come along and transported children to the local hospital and later to the Adult Day Care Center. Most of these parents had vans so they could fit up to six or seven children per van. I rode with another parent. The kids were so noisy in the back of the van. And since we were the first group to get to the hospital, we hung our jackets and all of a sudden it was chaos. Kids were running wild and screaming. I scolded my daughter and the others, “Shhh. This is a hospital. You cannot run around and make so much noise!” For a few minutes the children sat down and then got restless again. More children arrived. More noise and chaos. I kept giving my daughter the “evil eye” when I caught her running. She would calm down and sit down for a short time then “forget” and start up again.

Then the teachers arrived. The children were whipped back into shape.

It takes a special person, the right person, to be a teacher. I don’t think I could deal with a roomful of 10-15 students. (All the classes are small.) I wonder how teachers handle 30 students? I don’t think I have the patience. I can admit that.

I wonder if teachers took a lot of psychology, sociology, and child management-type classes in college? I think I could use some reverse psychology moves-they only work some of the time. (Making them think the opposite is true and in typical rebellious fashion they will want to do the opposite.) Or if you threaten to do something and they still didn’t listen or do what they were supposed to do-you have to act on those threats or they will catch on that “oh, mommy says that she will not let me watch TV or ride my bike for one week, but I still didn’t listen and she didn’t ground me from the TV or bike.” Don’t bluff. You gotta say, “Okay, no bike.” Crying ensues. Pleading. Whining. “Okay, okay! I’ll do it!” Then you have to say the hard part… “Too late. Listen to me the first time around.”

The teachers’ no-nonsense manner with the kids today was really an experience for me. I am soft-spoken and self-conscious. (I am working on it. I have been in front of classrooms enough times the last two years doing presentations-it’s getting easier. The sweat-induced nervousness still hits me. Maybe that will never go away.)

I was really impressed. Sure, it came from years of working with children, but still. That kind of calm authority works.

Let’s all give a round of applause to elementary teachers all over. They do have a tough job. Not only to teach, but to keep children in line.


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