Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to make little children cry

I worked in a second grade room yesterday.  It was the first time I've worked in the younger grades in a long long time (except when I got suckered into a day of Kindergarten).  I'm used to the middle-school aged kid.  They are loud and obnoxious and have pretty thick skins.  I forgot that the little ones don't have such an effective resistance to discipline built up yet.   First thing in the morning, I was standing in the hall greeting the kids and one boy saw me and yelled, "Alright!  Sub!"  and then proceeded to be loud and obnoxious.  This continued on in the classroom during the morning meeting.  Their teacher's method of discipline is color changes.  She has a chart on the wall with each kid's name and a green, yellow, orange, red and blue slip of paper in the little pocket below their name.  Everyone starts the day on green, and when they need a correction, they are asked to make a color change.

After one verbal warning to this kid who was pushing other kids and copying things I was saying in an obnoxious (and kind of funny) way, I told him to make a color change.  He did, but he was unfazed and the behavior continued.  I asked him to step into the hall with me.  He had a smug little smile on his face that told me he had no plans of stopping his behavior so I gave him this speech, which I admit, is geared more to the hardened middle schooler:

"Okay J., let me tell you how it is when Mrs. Lindahl is your teacher.  I've already given you a verbal warning and a color change, but unfortunately your behavior doesn't seem to be changing.  If you get another color change today, you and I will call your mother or your father and you will tell them that you have had two color changes.  If you get another color change after that, you and I will take a walk down to Mr. M.'s office (principal) and you will explain to him why you are there.  Do you understand me?"

He nodded his head.  I said,  "Good.  When we go back in the room you are going to sit in your spot and be a model second grader for the rest of the day.  Do you know what that means?"

He shook his head.  I said, "That means that you will keep your hands to yourself, you won't bother the kids around you, you won't be sassy with me or Miss F. (assistant), and you will follow the rules how you know they are supposed to be followed.  Do you understand?"

He nodded and we went back to the room.  He went directly to his spot and quietly wept.

What do you mean, 'did you feel bad?,' of course I felt bad!  It was a bit over the top when I think back on it.  I should have been a little more mommy and a little less prison warden but let me tell you something, he was EXCELLENT the rest of the day.  I could have probably done without the chest-pokes and throat-slitting gestures.  Just kidding.  I didn't poke his chest.

No comments:

Post a Comment