Sunday, March 6, 2011

Second Chances

Location: Bed
Listening to: An episode of Fraiser
Followers: 23??

Well, I lost a follower. How sad. Whatever, though. I'll tough it out and carry on.

Last Wednesday in the midst of my busy, busy day, I made the two block trek to the elementary school where my Lunch Buddy goes. Her name is Ashley and she's in 5th grade. I was just watching something on TV and it reminded me that when I go to visit her, I am constantly bewildered by how cranky and callus elementary school teachers seem to have gotten.

When I was in 5th grade, I absolutely adored my teachers. They were my heroes and role models and best friends. I was an avid learner and would have done anything to try and impress them or win their praise. They were tough but fair and managed to be friendly and still keep us all in line.

Maybe it's because little kids nowadays are totally engrossed in technology. Maybe it's that all of the youngsters are obsessed with the newest version of Nintendo DS or the cell phone they keep to call their parents after school or the internet. But the teachers I've encountered seem like they don't care whether or not their students can relate to them or if their rules are fair or if they can keep their pupils under control.

Ashley was in a music group that met during recess. They were learning African drums and she loved it. But the one day she just blanked and forgot it was a Wednesday and she was supposed to go to drumming and I blanked and forgot to remind her, so we went outside for recess instead and she was kicked out of the group for missing that one time on accident. It's not like she chose something over it. She just didn't remember she was supposed to go. No second chances, no explanations. You miss one, you're done.

To make matters worse, kids from the drumming group kept coming up to her after recess and going, "Ashley, you're kicked out of drumming." And it totally broke my heart because she was visibly upset and frustrated that these kids kept reminding her of something she was unhappy about and they just kept coming up and reminding her. I'm sure they all thought they were helping or that no one else had told her, but that wasn't the case.

We tried to go the next week, anyway, and I was appalled at the teacher's behavior. She called Ashley out in front of the entire class and told her how she missed the last one, so she couldn't be there. She pretty much said that Ashley didn't deserve to be there and that she was a bad kid for missing the one time and still thinking she could get a second chance. How humiliating is that?! To get belittled in front of your friends and peers for thinking that maybe you could get a second chance at something.

I understand that the teacher was probably trying to bestow a lesson in responsibility and that's why the rules were so harsh. But they're 5th graders. They're probably not any older than ten. They're so busy learning and making friends and being kids that it's kind of inevitable that some of them will just forget things every once in a while. I don't understand why giving a sweet kid who made a simple mistake a second chance is such a big deal.

Sometimes people frustrate me.

Not you guys, though. You rock. Thanks for not sucking. :)

1 comment:

  1. Does this sounds like a hill you would want to die on? Is it worth the fight to get this little girl back into this group. This rule sounds pretty draconian to me especially since it wasn't her fault. Is it worth it? How can I help?