Kids have surprised me this week. A 10 year-old boy, out of the blue, punched a girl in the face! Another couple of boys (in my class) got into a punching match on the bus (I didn't realize when kids get in fights on the bus, it makes a long day after school for their teacher). I caught another kid in my class passing notes, little did I know, the note was full of expletives(many of them misspelled). Later that week, a little girl said, 'screw you,' to the child sitting next to her. Throughout this entire week, kids have shown severe disrespect to me and their own teachers. They will specifically not listen to my directions. Girls roll their eyes, and openly talking back to me. I have had to do some things to those kids I'm not happy to do, but is necessary for them to learn that kind of behavior is inappropriate. Fortunately for me, kids are still afraid of the principal's office.
Now, there's a reason why I teach elementary school and not junior high or high school. I don't want the attitude or disturbing behavior! I want to teach kids that are still excited to learn, still innocent, and those who parents and teachers are still the primary influence in their lives. Kids this age should be sweet, thoughtful, caring, and inherently care about being 'good'. Now, some of them are this way, but others are not at all! They are growing up too fast. They are talking about things way to mature for their age. Teachers in my grade level have overheard these ten-year olds talking about dating, drugs, sex, and a variety of equally inappropriate conversations. Now, let's face it, junior high and high school students do talk about this kind of stuff these days. It is almost expected there, but at the age of ten?! These kids should be talking about their favorite cartoons, athletes, video games, and telling stories about their dog, aunts, uncles or parents; not about the time their sister collapsed from 'doing too much marijuana' (true story).
Ok, so how are kids getting this way? I don't want to put blame on one person or thing, but remember how I said these kids greatest influence is their parents, teachers, and other adults in their lives? Let's just say, having been with these kiddos for about a month now, it is easy to spot those with parents who are involved, supportive, and have a low tolerance for unacceptable behavior. I understand kids can't be angels all the time; they're going to make mistakes, no matter who their parents are. However, there is a big difference in attitude between those parents previously mentioned, and others when the child DOES make a mistake.
I'm going to get off my soap box now, but to all those parents, parents to be, and people who want to someday become parents. To those who are planning on teaching their kids proper values, sheilding them from mature situations (for the most part), demanding respect, and staying involved in their lives; I want to you know you are not only going to raise respectful, helpful, innocent, responsible, and kind children*, you are also giving a tender and exciting gift to their future teachers. So thank you!**
*When children become teenagers, everything changes. So, I don't think it's fair to say if parents follow a simple formula, their kids will turn out perfect. I'm not a parent of teenagers, but I don't think it works that way.
**I basically wrote this for my own personal benefit. I want to remember my teaching experiences to help me be a better parent later on.