Monday, January 23, 2012

The Flip Side of High Expectations

I've been mulling something as a parent that was highlighted today as a teacher as well.

We ask more of kids than we do of ourselves.

As a parent, I've noticed that I often tell my children not to use a certain tone in frustration or anger even though I use a certain tone in exactly that manner. I require that they talk with me to work through a problem, even though, when in their shoes I might want some cooling down time before having such a conversation. I tell my daughters they have to answer me when I ask them a question or say something to me to acknowledge me but I don't always respond to them when they speak to me.

I was in a classroom today while one of our astoundingly wonderful counselors was talking to the students about what to do when they are feeling grouchy. As they all talked together I realized that students don't have a lot of options in school when they are upset. A teacher might let them take a break from things but they can't listen to music, take a walk, talk it out with someone, or any of the things we do to help us cope.

My students are six and seven years old. My daughters are eight and five. Why do I expect them to have more control of themselves than I have of myself? Why do I not offer them the same options I want when things are rough?

I don't have an answer to those questions nor a quick response for the future. As seems to so often be true, this is something I'm going to have to keep thinking about.


Jill Fisch said...

You've got me thinking about this now, too. Thanks.

Jim Randolph said...

Great post. I often see teachers acting in a way they wouldn't put up with for five seconds with a student.

Angel Read said...

Thats a great thought! Some classrooms have a "cooling off spot" where kids can sit when they are upset or just need some time. Its not a consequence like time out... its supposed to be the kids' choice to go there. It would be nice if the cooling off spot had some things in it like headphones with a music player, some books, crayons and markers, stuff like that, so a kid could just take a break if he needed it!