Frustrations with kindergarten

February 19th, 2009

I’m not sure what is going on in my classroom but the children seemed to have checked all ability to listen and be respectful at the door. And it’s not just my class. Every teacher in our school is complaining of some variation of this problem.

All of a sudden you are a “cool kid” if you get sent to the office. In order to be in some random club you need to get sent to the office. Consequences have no meaning anymore. Today my class lost learning labs (their absolute favorite time of day), recess and choice time due to behavior. Guess how many of them cared? Yeah – zero.

This isn’t like last year where all I needed was a serious crack down in the rules and the kids shaped up. This is something entirely new. This is a whole new level of defiance. And they are mean. Mean to me. Mean to each other. Mean to other adults. They are rude. There is swearing. And a lot of “I HATE YOU”. There is bullying and lying and stealing. And it’s all in an attempt to get sent to the office. I know their game. Nobody is going to the office. Not anymore.

And I have a plan but I’m not sure how it will work.

Currently our class rules are:

1. Share

2. Keep your hands and feet to yourself

3. Listen to the person who is speaking.

4. Respect people and things.

5. Be safe.

That’s it. Not tough rules to follow. And I didn’t write them – they did.

Tomorrow, the rules are coming down. There will be new rules:

1. You can’t say you can’t play.

2. You can be mad but you can’t be mean.

3. Even when you are mad, you still have to follow the rules.

4. Nobdoy goes to the office.

There will also be a new seating chart. Currently we are at tables of 4. And the tables are starting to get into fights with each other. Not anymore. Nobody gets to sit at tables. I have a class set of clipboards. We will all be doing our work in one big group, in a circle, together. All supplies are now communial. You want crayons, you need to ask politely. You want help, you quietly ask a friend. Finished your work early? Help someone who needs it.

We will begin working and functioning as a community again. We are going to be in this together. If one person needs to calm themselves down we will all stop and take a break and calm down. If 2 kids need to practice walking in a line quietly we will all walk to show them how it should look.

By the time I leave for Ethiopia my class will be back to functioning as a unit. And it may mean no academic teaching for a week or more but right now their behavior is more important to me than whether or not they can do a pattern or count by 5′s.

One Response to “Frustrations with kindergarten”

  1. Heather S on February 20, 2009 6:37 am

    Sounds like a good idea to me. I hope it works. I have never been a teacher but can definitely imagine how frustrating this must be. Let’s hope it’s just a phase.

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