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“Whatever the child does is wrong; he must not talk, he must not fidget, he must not roll down a grassy bank in the park. The only thing he may do without getting into trouble is to sit still… and wish he were dead.” – Bertrand Russell
Remember us, when we were rambunctious little children who couldn’t sit still for a minute and sometimes needed to be locked up in bathrooms or tied up to chairs when we got out of control?! I either gave away too much too soon or I took all of you readers back to a time when we were children being taught to be grown ups at the age of 5 or 6!! Honestly, what else do kids do when they have so much energy and the entire world to spend it all on?! Parents spend half their life coaching their toddlers to be little adults and then train them to become bigger adults when they should be running around and painting the walls purple and yelling at the tops of their voices just because they felt like it.
I find myself stuck when I am with my class of 7 and 8 year old girls and boys. They have either lost their cuteness or I have lost the will power to see beyond their mischief and mayhem on a daily basis. They clearly don’t want to study when I tell them to and clearly don’t want to learn anything new when I teach them because they always want to play or fight or yell or pick their nose or complain or drink water or go to the toilet. This post is more of a rant and an attempt to figure out what make these children click and how much tough love works on them.
As part of our school’s policy, we don’t yell at the children and hit them even when they push other kids down and hurt them so bad that they need stitches. We, on the other hand sit them down and talk to them as though they were adults (try explaining to a 5 year old with rage issues that he shouldn’t have hit another child who was making fun of him and asking for it). Sometimes, it works. I took this kid outside and told him to count to 5 each time he got really angry and that by the time he was done, the rage would’ve subsided. (Does that ever work, even with us…adults?!!) Well, he tried alright and it was absolutely adorable to see this little boy closing his eyes and then counting to five with his fists balled up. The other kid would’ve run away in the mean time… at least that was my intention 😀 But, no… I am digressing.
My kids don’t want to listen to me when they don’t want to, which is beginning to be more often than not. I find myself losing my cool with them more often and they have off late been behaving more like children than little adults like we were groomed to be when we were their age. I know it is a good thing but it is upsetting me!! I tried making my class learn the number names from 11 to 20 over a week and they still came back without doing their homework or learning the spellings. I agree it is a boring exercise but hey, all types of learning can’t be fun no?! Or can it?! My creative mind is short of ideas to grab their attention and make them want to learn the spellings, much to my annoyance. They just want to be kids and I have threatened to walk out of their class the next time they come without doing their homework… emotional blackmail is the only route out with this class of mine… or is it?!! I go back to my room for my daily reflection after the class with these kids and I am so upset with the limited progress I am getting from them. Is it me?! Am I not equipped to handle their class?!
I suddenly remembered the last time the class and I were at peace with each other, when they all worked like good little children and I didn’t need to raise my voice to get them to settle down and do their work. I was trying to end their session on action words and describing words when I came across this fun exercise online which I decided to do with my kids. I gave each kid a flashcard and asked every alternate child to write an action word and adjective. After they were done, I gave them some glue and gave them wheels which I had cut out for them already to make a railway coach and then attached them all to make a small train. The kids were so proud of their work and I was so proud of them.
It took me a few hours of planning but it was worth it to see their smiles. Sigh. I can’t think of anything fun to do with number names. Can you?! Suggestions are welcome as I have a little less than a week to make them learn and I don’t want to make them be little adults when I know it is time for them to be children.
Picture courtesy: Picture 1: www.kidspot.com.au ; Picture 2: curezone.com