When I started working at an elementary school about a year and a half ago, the age group was new to me. I had worked with infants through kindergarten in my previous job but, really, kids are kids. I adjusted and settled in pretty quickly to my new job. I actually look forward to going to work many days, not something a lot of people can say. I am at my best when I spend my day with children.
This week, however, I am discouraged. It’s not the kids. For me, it’s rarely the kids. It’s the adults. The treatment of kids at my school by many adults (administrators, teachers, aides) is wearing me down. At my other job, I was the boss. I set the standards and they were high. Children were expected to be treated with respect, no matter their age. If this standard wasn’t met, well, I could do something about it. Now, I am SO not the boss. I have NO control over how adults treat kids. I think for a while now, I have tried to look the other way, get along, enjoy the work I do with kids. But things are happening this week, and it hurts me- how must the kids feel? A disrespectful tone of voice, sarcasm, yelling and what I call discipline through humiliation- I just cannot agree with it. It makes me feel I am spending my days in the wrong place.
As I’ve said before, kids should absolutely not be disrespectful to adults (or anyone else, for that matter), but they most certainly are. I ask this question: which came first- kids being disrespectful to adults or….adults being disrespectful to kids?
Today, I passed a couple kids in the hall and heard them talking about one of my coworkers: “….Mrs. B! She’s on the 6th grade yard!” “I know! She’s so mean!”
And they are right- she is. I’ve seen her in action. I am working hard to make sure no kid ever says that about me.