Everyone put your heads on your desks and keep quiet”, a line most commonly heard in primary school. Having been a hyperactive kid with the attention span of a puppy the teacher’s instructions always brought out the ‘what the hey’ from the voice within. I needn’t mention who got to stand outside the class for making noise. The 1990’s were primitive when it came to disciplining.
Decades later I understand the teacher’s perspective. The incessant chatter of kids; shrieking sounds, like a dubstep track gone wrong, do give you a migraine. But try explaining that to kids. Nap time, I’m sure I speak for most, didn’t make sense to me until I’d spent over two and a half decades on this planet.
Not so long ago, I was to conduct a school survey. I sat in a room full of second grade girls. While the three enumerators, including me, interviewed the children there were a dozen sitting there bored with nothing to do. Bored children and trouble go hand in hand.
Just minutes later a girl pulled another girl’s ponytail who returned the favor with a slap. Flashbacks from many moons ago kept telling me to be creative. I tore out pages from a notepad handed them to the children asking them to draw something for me and to talk slowly. Moments later the room was abuzz with activity, the sound of lead against paper, erasers undoing errors, hums and snickers. Honestly, if the brain were a steam engine this room was a busy railway station. Every now and then a girl would come to show me her work “awesome” was the word she got even if the drawing didn’t make sense at all.
Once the survey was over, the kids queued to hand me their work. Fruits, it seemed was the theme of the day. I saw neatly labeled drawings of grapes, apples, tomatoes, pomegranates; someone decided to go out of the way with a fish and another with some abstract green doodle. I’m sure decades later the kids will say ‘I see what he did there’.
As we age, we tend to forget how children work at a totally different energy level. We fail to get down to their level to control their actions. Have you had a similar experience? How do you handle children? Please let me know in the comments.