Remember: They're Just Children

It can be hard to look past the cursing, the fighting, the sometimes overt displays of sexuality and see these students as the young children they are. Ranging from age 9 to 11 in my classroom, none of my kids, in spite of their environment are that mature. And in spite of exposure to drugs, alcohol and sex at such a young age, most of them have largely retained their innocence.

Starting a new tradition today, I had lunch in my classroom with the students of the day and student of the week from the past week. "Will you give us multiplication problems, Mr. B?"
"Oh man," one of my brighter and truly kind boys said. "I was going to tell you about my dog."
I started drilling them on their times tables and they were anxious to get the answer first. Later just taking care of some things in the classroom before picking up the rest of my students the same student followed me around. "I don't know what I would do without my dog." He had found his opening.

The language and attitude coming from these kids can be shocking at times. But you give them a chance and they will be plain old kids. Kids who like to draw and play with stamps and talk about animals. Kids who are deep down eager to learn and eager to please their teacher. Even if they say they hate me or some other vile thing they can think of, it doesn't change that fact.


Dan Edwards said…
I find many of my students ( jr. high ) are shocked to hear from me that use of such language is not proper behavior and is considered "bad" to most people. One wonders about the influences upon our youth.
Hugh O'Donnell said…
Good insights, Ruben.

polski3 also makes a good point -- many of our students learn their verbal behaviors from their parents, "and if mom and dad talk that way all the time, how can it be bad?"

But you're are kids, and they don't know what they don't know, and they do need good role models and tireless safety nets.

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