Thursday, December 08, 2005

elementary ed.

For those of you who know my academic history, you will remember I was once designated as an Elementary Education major. This was quickly abandoned. This was a very bad idea for several reasons.

1. Children are not your personal slaves.
Just because they are smaller than you does not make you "Lord of the Children" or whatever you want to call yourself. Their parents do not send them to you every day to help file your taxes, organize your desk, polish your silverware, or even to sharpen the crayons. Telling them it is "our little secret" is not a fail-proof method of discouraging them from telling their parents. In some states, it is even illegal. Do not treat children as slaves.

2. Time outs have limits.
I do not believe in spanking, hitting, or even branding children. What worked for me when I was a kid, and what seems to withstand the test of time, are "time outs." They work wonders on children who are afraid of you, of the dark corners of the classroom, or of what comes after "5" in "I'm counting to five."
Scenario: Bobby has been gluing the slower students' hands together. This is disconcerting because they can't figure out how to separate them on their own. You were going to let this one slide, but Bobby's also been rifling through your desk for booze. Bobby needs a time out.
Problem: The problem with this situation is that after twenty minutes, Bobby wants to come back and join class. He insists he's "learned his lesson" and that "it won't happen again." While of course, you don't believe Bobby, (he comes from a family of swindlers and cheats), the school can't advocate more punishment. You are right in that Bobby shouldn't be believed, he will be back at your desk drawer in the next five minutes, but unfortunately there are no "time outs" for the teacer.
A time out is not your chance to catch up with friends, go out for a smoke, call back that tax-collecter that's been bugging you, or to go out with John for a quick round of drinks.
Children catch on pretty quickly. When you and John come back reaking of booze (and not your ordinary Jack Daniels), and they ask why your hair looks like that, they are not complimenting you on your new style.

3. School days cannot be canceled at whim.
"Your teacher could not be here on account of intense hangover" is not an appropriate reason to cancel class. Neither is rain, bad hair days, or "something good was on tv."

4 comments:

Jonk said...

I have a couple of comments.

First, you say "this is a very bad idea for several reasons," but then you give a list of only two items. I have this big pet peeve of people not properly using words such as "a couple," "a few," "several," "many," etc.

I think somebody shoud sit down and determine once and for all the defintions of these ambiguous terms. And then, so everybody is on the same page, maybe the person could put these findings in a book or booklet or phamplet.

A visit to dictionary.com isn't of much help:

few adj.
1. Amounting to or consisting of a small number: one of my few bad habits.
2. Being more than one but indefinitely small in number: bowled a few strings.

several adj.
1. Being of a number more than two or three but not many: several miles away.

Here is how I break things down. Let's see if others agree.

One is 1.
A couple is 2.
A few is 3-4.
Several is 4-5.
Many is 6-8.
A lot is 9-11.
A dozen is 12.
A baker's dozen is 13.


And since I said at the beginning of this that I have a "couple" of comments, I guess I should have a second point now, or else I will be contradictory. Hmm....

Alright, here we go.

Secondly, Bobby will probably become an alcoholic anyway, considering his family background. Let him have the booze. Maybe even bring his family in for a "parent/teacher conference" and drink with them.

Jonk said...

You have now added a third point, which pretty much makes my entire comment above irrelevant now. (If it even had any relevance, of course. Probably not.) Thanks!

Anonymous said...

OK, Time Out For You! I going to count to five...and if you haven't started studying for your finals by then, your future funding will be terminated.

The Management

Anonymous said...

But how many is a handful?