Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The view from the other side

When I was a kid there were two things I absolutely loved about school. The first was the school party. It didn't matter the occasion. Any day with a party was a good day. The second was field trips. Again, doesn't matter where we were going. Leaving the confines of the school building for the great unknown, brown paper bag lunch in tow was bound to be a very good day.

Fast forward about twenty years ok, maybe 30 or so. Now I'm a teacher. Knowing full well the joys of my childhood, there are two things that I hate about teaching. Let me go so far as to say these are the bane of my existence. Yup, you guessed it! School parties and field trips.

The reasons that I dislike both of these events are due to the behaviors it elicits from the otherwise decent children. Why is it that kids don't want to be held accountable for their behavior in school, but then they think they should be allowed to participate in the bonus stuff too. As a new strategy this year I put up a poster on the wall and started a guest list for the kids who will be accompanying me on the field trip. You would have thought the poster said "involuntary organ donors" . The kids not on the list were furious and even went so far as to tell me they were going to complain to their parents, the principal and "get me fired". Seriously?

I then launched into my impromptu dissertation on my job being to hold them accountable for following the school rules both in and out of the building. If they can't do it in the building, then I certainly would not be doing my job if I let them go outside on trips. While they agreed that this was logical, I could tell that they aren't sold on the fact yet. It is interesting to me that it never occurs to them that they are the ones who could make the changes necessary for success. So for now I will keep going back day in and day out, fighting the good fight to somehow try and impress some sort of sense of accountability for the citizens of our future. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. Some days it is like talking to a brick wall. But I will keep trying!

However...I am now beginning to understand that vein that was pretty much always sticking out on my 4th grade teacher's neck! The view is so clear from the other side!

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