Thursday, April 2, 2009

Less Power to the Children

I have thought for sometime now that we have just empowered kids too much. I know it all started as a do good thing but it's gotten out of control really. Yes we want for our kids to be empowered to stand up to child molesters and abusive authority figures, or the bully down the block. These are all inherently good things to strive for, however somewhere along the way the children have warped those good intentions as a licence to do and say what ever they want to whom ever they want.

Case in point......yesterday in my classroom one of my students felt empowered to vocalize his feeling regardless of their inappropriateness. After he stated his dislike of a new student by announcing that he "hates that little mother fucker" I sternly reminded him to keep his opinions and colorful vocabulary to himself. Now this kid typically responds to a warning and then shapes it up, and I usually don't have to write him up on school violations, but yesterday he was on a roll.

He throughout the next 2 hours to spew his dislike of another teacher by saying he wished she'd die and that she needs to take the stick out of her ass. Why does he say it? Because he can, and feels entitled to....because according to him he feels like "he's living in hell, and "I" am the gate keeper.

Needless to say his day became a real living hell as I wrote him up on a discipline and told the Principal what he said word for word. Hopefully he will think twice about how he can according to his own admittance, say whatever he wants because he has "freedom of speech, and this is a free country". Yeah well If I followed your advice sweetie, I would of told you to quit acting like a jack ass and shut the hell up! Ok rant over, I need to sharpen my horns.


  1. Very good point Kat. The so called "Freedom of speech" and "Political correctness" is getting out of hand which makes especially your work a possible nightmare. I admire your patience.

  2. Hate to say it, but this crap started happening when they took corporal punishment out of schools.
    That didn't used to happen, because the little darling knew that he would be dragged by the ear down to the Vice Principal's office and beaten severely.
    Now, they know that nothing is going to happen to them except some candy-assed talking-to and attempt at reasoning.

  3. Sounds like the little bastard's parents need to do a better job at home. That's why the kids don't care is because their parents don't care, it's bullshit.

  4. Hey Teach,

    I taught at the "mental school" for years. Trust me I know what you are going through. I have an idea that might (?) work for you and your students. It worked for me for years.

    I had my students write a Classroom Bill of Rights. All of the students had a say in what would be inclusive and all of them signed off on disciplinary action to be taken. It took a while but the whole process was student led (100%). All of them had to sign it and it was proudly displayed in the classroom.

    Does it always work? Think of it this way: it's a great learning tool (think of the 100s of examples you could use from the Bill of Rights to your school's policy book). Will you and your students make mistakes or leave out important stuff? Sure, but so did the founding Fathers and your local city council.

    Maybe you could bring in some respected high-schoolers to help your class write it.

    Another great source is your state Bar Association. They should have a "law-related" civics program geared toward programs to assist you. They should have a 1-800 number or maybe on-line.

    Let the kids know that it is their school but they must have parameters and rules...It is not their home, their social clique, or a mosh pit.

    I take exception to "Badvlad" comment about taking away corporal punishment. First, a teacher can't be the good-gal/bad-gal. His/her job is to be the facilitator and teacher. Students won't learn a thing if they are pissed-off at you. Classroom management is one thing, but the discipline action ought to come out of the principal's office.

    Come on, give it a try. What have you to lose?

  5. I'm glad that you cought his behaviour in class and discipline him :). Agree with Doug that I believe his parents should do a better job teaching manners.

  6. Yeah the bill of rights thing sounds interesting not so sure it would work so well with my kids, I have the worst behaved of the student population, but it might.
    I hear ya doug, a lot of these behaviors probably could be aleved with parent involvement, unfortunately many of the parents aren't equiped to be role models

  7. Alice,
    Take exception if you wish. That old method of discipline worked for thousands of years of civilization up until someone with an education degree decided that they wanted to be all nice-nice and be a facilitator. I'm old enough to remember what a classroom used to be like. That kind of behavior wasn't tolerated, at least not where I went to school. The few problem-children that I remember were removed and I don't know what happened to them.
    Teachers taught academics and didn't have to play babysitter. The Bill of Rights should be taught in a civics class, History, of Political Science. If you are teaching mathematics or science than it is a waste of time.

  8. That child was raised wrong. Who lets their kid act like that?

  9. Whooo vlad simmer down, Yes I can see why you might think it's better for a civis or history class but what they are talking about is sort of the kids helping make the rules to help them adhere to them and hold themselves accountable

  10. The boy needs to be taught the difference between "Freedom of Speech" and abuse/disrespect.

    Yes, children have been empowered way too much.

  11. I agree hot bath, they don't get the difference ughhhhhhhhhhhh

  12. Children need a clear definition of acceptable and unacceptable conduct. They feel more secure when they know the borders of permissible action.

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