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Sat Dec 8, 2012, 09:21 AM

Indignities that our children face.

I came across a blog today that got me thinking. Here is an excerpt:

If someone were to give me a token prize in a transparent attempt to manipulate my behavior, I would feel patronized and used. If I were ordered by the government to use my free time to take classes that didn’t interest me, I would experience that as an unjust intrusion on my liberty. If I were made to sit silently in an uncomfortable chair at someone else’s whim, required to ask permission even to use the bathroom, given only ten or fifteen minutes to eat my lunch, and made to feel shameful or defective if I couldn’t comply with these “expectations” – all while being given no say over my treatment – I would quickly either become a revolutionary or settle into a clinical depression.

(Should I post the link? I'm not promoting this blog, I just followed a trail to this post.)

Kids live through countless indignities in school. I remember hearing hours of 'threats' woven into the first days of orientation aimed at kids who were likely to be truant. For me, it was demeaning since I always went to school.

My kids' elementary school adopted a policy of no talking in the cafeteria. They enforced total silence while these 6-10 year-olds ate lunch.

What do you remember? Is this good training for life? What is the long-term impact of herd-mentality?

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Indignities that our children face. (Original post)
rainin Dec 2012 OP
Sedona Dec 2012 #1
rainin Dec 2012 #2
narnian60 Dec 2012 #4
narnian60 Dec 2012 #3
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #5
rainin Dec 2012 #7
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #8
DollarBillHines Dec 2012 #6
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #9
rainin Dec 2012 #10
narnian60 Dec 2012 #11
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #12
mbperrin Dec 2012 #17
kickysnana Dec 2012 #13
LWolf Dec 2012 #14
rainin Dec 2012 #15
LWolf Dec 2012 #16
GMR Transcription Dec 2012 #18
savebigbird Dec 2012 #19

Response to rainin (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 09:33 AM

1. My 17 year old daughter is miserable at her High School

She has a form of dyslexia and struggles with simple tasks the rest of us take for granted. She is regularly dismissed by her teachers as beyond help and by other students as stupid.

She cried all the way on our 20 minute drive to school on Thursday.

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Response to Sedona (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 09:46 AM

2. I'm sorry.

My heart goes out to her (and you).

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Response to rainin (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 10:21 AM

4. +1000.

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Response to rainin (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 10:19 AM

3. Cafeteria behavior-always a challenge.

At our school, total silence was a consequence we dangled over the kids' heads when the behavior got out of control. One day of it was all that was needed every once in a while. Silence everyday-that's brutal.

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Response to rainin (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 12:10 PM

5. Our kids bring books to lunch

That's great training for life.

As for 'herd mentality', I see it more as giving kids a stable and calm environment that maximizes learning. Or we could just let 500 kids do whatever they want all day long.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 01:15 PM

7. I talked to my friends at lunch.

I remember all through school meeting my friends in the cafeteria and talking. I have tons of wonderful memories of being with friends in the cafeteria.

Funny memory: I heard about sex from a girl named Kelly. We were in 4th grade. We were at lunch in the cafeteria. She told us that he put his thing (she points to a certain place on the body) in your thing (still pointing). She knew because an older sibling had told her. None of us had ever heard of such a thing. I remember where we were sitting. That was it. I got the sex talk. (Is there an alert that I'm supposed to put here to warn people that I'm about to say something inappropriate?)

Seriously, I loved that part of school. I'm an extrovert and I've always needed to talk to think. I can't imagine reading during lunch. My oldest son is a heavy reader, he probably wouldn't mind it so much.

Sorry for using the word "herd mentality". That's a really loaded word. I agree with how important it is to create a calm environment so kids can learn. I was posting about some of the indignities I remember as a kid. The times I saw rules that didn't make school a positive place. Just reflecting here on all of it.

I'm reconsidering the conversation because the discourse has become so anti-school and anti-teacher that I don't want to add to that. Teachers deserve to be supported right now, not ganged up on. Sorry if I offended.

It does make me sad, though, because I think that kids have it harder than we did in a lot of ways.

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Response to rainin (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 01:33 PM

8. Our kids talk too

And also read.

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Response to rainin (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 12:20 PM

6. I used to think that I was missing out on everything by not going to school.

Now, I am glad I missed all that nonsense.

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Response to rainin (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 01:54 PM

9. Indignities? Really?

Do you think that teachers go into education, accept the long hours, low pay and bullying from administrators because they enjoy seeing children being treated indignantly?

This is just beyond insulting. Every single one of my friends from college who chose a different career makes more money than I do. Several who dropped out and never graduated make twice what I do. Some have already retired and are posting pictures on Facebook of vacations in glamorous places. One just unfriended me because she was tired of seeing me post article after article about the attacks on public education and public workers. She'd rather see pictures of my family and I having fun. After all, she's retired, her kids are no longer in school and why worry her pretty little head about depressing matters?

My cousin who is a doctor pays an amount equal to my yearly salary for malpractice insurance. I've never asked her what her yearly salary is because I know it would make me ill.

I stayed after school last night - a Friday - for 2 hours to catch up and be ready for the coming week. Dinner was carry out pizza because I was too exhausted to cook. And this morning I decided to sleep in before I got up and got back to work grading papers. Flu is going around and children are petrie dishes and the last thing I need right now is to get sick.

As soon as I'm done, I get to go out shopping to find a new coat for a student who doesn't have one, because (to quote her mother): 'she only lives a block from school, and it's not been very cold yet'.

And now I get to see on DU that I am contributing to "countless indignities"???? Because it's obvious I really hate children, and I'm just on a power trip spending my days telling them to be quiet and refusing to allow them to use the restroom. Oh, and making sure their meal time is as unpleasant as possible. And wanting them to come to school - why that's just evil.

No, please don't post the link. I have more important tasks for today.



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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #9)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 02:15 PM

10. I understand your reaction.

I even understand that I provoked it. You must have just missed where I wrote above that I realized in my musings that I was contributing to an anti-teacher conversation that I did not mean to contribute to.

I regret starting a conversation that added to the pain that you are feeling and that teachers all over the country are feeling. You are absolutely under attack and it is dead wrong what is happening right now. Teachers are being scapegoated, for what? To gut unions? I don't know. But teachers have never been the problem.

I cannot apologize enough for how I insulted you and other teachers at DU. It was not my intention but clearly it is what happened. I am sorry.

Please know that I thank you for loving children so much that you give selflessly every day. I wish I could say more. I hope you feel my love.

Thank you for letting me know what I did so I can have the opportunity to try to repair the insult. Perhaps we could muse about these things in a different world where there is an understood appreciation for teachers and all that you do, and teachers are not being condemned at every turn. This is clearly not the time.

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Response to rainin (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 02:47 PM

11. Apology totally accepted.

I wasn't really upset with your post, but maybe it was because I am retired 3 years from the profession. If I were still in the trenches, maybe I would have felt more negative about it. So many educators are going through such stressful times now...but that really IS a whole other subject isn't it?

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Response to rainin (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 06:30 PM

12. That's very nice

I think we can have these discussions but once we use words like "indignities" we go off in a direction that is not productive.

Even back when I was in elementary school, there were those who complained about the structure of school. It was cruel to make kids sit in rows, walk in lines, stay quiet. . . . And I understand where this criticism comes from. The problem is the alternative. Most people doing the criticizing are not stopping to think that a typical elementary school has 400 - 500 kids. If we let them all do what THEY wanted, let them run, let them talk whenever they want, we would have chaos instead of education. And I don't think anyone wants that. We have rules in school for the same reason we have them at football games or parades or any events attracting a large crowd. The rules and procedures keep people safe. Do we overdo it sometimes? Yes. The best example I can think of is the out of control TSA nonsense at our airports. But I sure don't see those rules going away anytime soon.

A friend of mine not long ago complained to me about what he called 'regimentation' in our schools. I pointed out that everywhere we go in life there are rules and we don't always like them. Schools are preparing kids for life in the real world, and rules are just a part of that preparation. And he said well, he was hoping the world wouldn't be so regimented when his kids grew up. My reply - fat chance.

The vast majority of teachers I know are compassionate loving people. We usually strive to support the same kind of climate in our classrooms and in our schools that we would want in our own child's school. We want our own children to feel safe and nurtured in school. We don't want them bullied. And in order to keep them safe, we ask them to behave accordingly and to respect others. Yes, sometimes that means they can't talk at lunch. And trust me, as soon as you spend just 5 minutes in a school cafeteria that is out of control, you'll understand why that no talking rule was enforced. And hopefully, it's just a temporary policy. We know kids like the freedom they have to visit with their friends over a meal. That's human, something we all enjoy, engrained in our culture.

So rather than complaining about perceived indignities, I would ask the concerned parties to spend some time in a school and observe the climate and hopefully understand the reason for the rules they feel are unfair.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 09:02 PM

17. You are absolutely correct, and the larger schools get, the more difficult it is to maintain a safe

environment. I teach at an urban high school of 3600 enrollment. The campus is spread over 8 city blocks in 4 buildings, the first built in 1938. 85% of our kids are on free or reduced lunch, and 80% are at risk for dropping out or failing. Those are official metrics.

We have 220 students who are 20-22 years of age. Texas allows non-graduated students to stay until the semester of their 22nd birthday. We have 360 more who are 18 or 19 years of age, which means they are repeating their senior year for the second or third time.

The school district has just gotten a bond issue passed to build more classrooms to increase our enrollment by sending 9th grade students here. That will take up to 5100 or so total enrollment. Faculty has been reduced from 229 to 189 from last year. One of our five assistant principal positions was eliminated as well. There are two uniformed officers on the entire campus.

I've been here teaching over the last three decades. I graduated from here as well. 3 years ago, a number of students asked to come during lunch for tutoring, which I certainly agreed to do. Turns out they really just wanted a safe place to be during lunch, and since then, I have close to 30 students who come daily to eat their lunch with me in my classroom.

Gangs and gang fights are common - nearly one every day so far this school year. All 36 exterior doors are being replaced with higher-security models that can't just be pried open at night at a cost of $137,000. We've had numerous break-ins, and the exterior windows on the cafeteria have been shot out 4 times so far this year.

And yet here we are, giving state-mandated tests 4 days this coming week, and final exams for the semester the week after, and wondering why our failure rate has doubled in the last five years. It's basic Maslow, and we're losing. Fewer faculty and staff and more kids are not the best mix.

I once thought that if someone got killed, that might shake things up, but a sophomore was stabbed to death 2 years ago, and nothing changed. It was like a giant, oh, well. Safety and order would be great here.

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Response to rainin (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 04:32 AM

13. I really enjoyed all the conversation in this thread on this important issue.

Sometimes we do need to retalk and think about these things.

When my Dad was in school his graduating class was 12. They didn't get to learn Russian but anyone who wanted to could play in the band or on a sports team or sing in the choir. Older students mentored younger students. I had the rare opportunity in the 1960's to be in a 3rd & 4th grade group combined. They put the best 10 students in a class with 12 fourth graders. Of course I had the same teacher for fourth grade and she found it was best to send the 10 of us off to learn things like shelving library books, making dittos, wiping down lunch tables putting up bulletin boards because we already knew 95% of what she was teaching, aced the tests without further study and she really didn't want to teach another 2 separate classes. We all rejoined 5th grade. As far as I know, my youngest sister was 17 years younger than I was, they never did that in that school district again and my oldest son attended that school district before she graduated..

Regimentation is needed to allow learning but in some cases regimentation has replaced learning so this always needs to be tweaked.

I have one grandson who's Mom is a public School Teacher is in a stand alone Charter School a couple blocks away from home and his original daycare mainly because they offered him free preschool and then she got to trust that school. I have another in the same Public Elementary School his Dad went to and he is doing good too.

It is wrong to say that all Public Schools are failing. It is wrong to say all charter schools are bad things. And is that another can of worms discussion or what?

Excluding public school teachers from this debate at the national level is an extremely unthought through bad decision by this administration for those who want the best education, most cost effective education( and do not have another agenda.)

The reactions to the prank at the hospital in England here on DU leave me wondering what kind of experience people had in schools that they would think that that was OK and moreover anyone who didn't was in need of psychiatric treatment. Maybe that explains our current foreign policy eh?

So thanks for posting this and allowing people to be honest about the ideas involved here.

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Response to rainin (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 01:21 PM

14. Is this supposed to be a thread

about how terrible school is?

Sorry. I have some bad memories. The thing is, very few have anything to do with the school. The vast majority of bad school memories, the ONLY indignities, have to do with the other students. I obviously didn't grow up in public school with a "herd mentality." Look at my username.

As far as the adults at the schools go, my memories are almost all overwhelmingly positive. I got a great public education, from dedicated, caring people.

Today I work with a whole building of those dedicated, caring people. While we are under tremendous pressures, and often forced to do things that we don't agree with, our students generally find their school to be a wholesome, positive place.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #14)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 02:31 PM

15. I hope you will read all the posts in this thread for a clearer understanding.

Last edited Sun Dec 9, 2012, 04:43 PM - Edit history (1)

I came across a post that I thought was interesting so I shared it in a thread. It reminded me of times when I felt invisible or voiceless. I wondered if others had experienced this, too.

I made a huge mistake not thinking before I spoke. I realize now that this is not the time to look back and think about those negative moments. This is a time to join the fight for public education. Public education in general, and teachers specifically, are in the fight of their lives. Those of us who, like you, had positive experiences on the whole, need to come together and stand for teachers, with teachers, and protect the future of public education.

Wow, what a couple of days I have had. I am new to DU. You see, I think about this stuff all the time, but this is the first time I have had a group of people to talk with about subjects that are important to me. This is the first forum I have ever joined. In this thread, I mused on something that was so myopic, I surprised myself. I guess I'm not as socially aware as I thought I was. I was unaware that I was being insulting. I embrace the opportunity to learn and improve even if it is uncomfortable. I assure you I was shaken when I saw how I had affected another dedicated teacher like yourself. I tell my kids all the time that I empathize with their discomfort when they are corrected, but what is important is what they (in this case, what I) do with that correction. Do I learn from it and be better or do I resist it and keep making the same mistake? I like learning my lessons. That way, I leave fewer bodies in my wake as I fumble through this world.

Being new is not an excuse, but I tell you because I am at the beginning of my learning curve. I will try to be better with recognizing inflammatory language like "herd mentality" and "indignities" and not use it, being ever mindful of the times we live in so that I don't unintentionally insult everyone here, and hopefully get to enjoy a lively and productive discussion that improves our world, even if only a little bit.

I will say that I have concerns about low teacher pay, loss of pensions, gutting of unions, bullying in school, charter schools, mandatory testing, loss of the arts and PE, corporate influence in schools (i.e. soda machines, advertising, McD coupons and educational materials) etc. I look forward to discussions on these topics in this forum.

Thank you for your dedication to education. By the way, I never mentioned that my mom was a public school teacher until she retired with over 30 years of service.

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Response to rainin (Reply #15)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 04:36 PM

16. Welcome to DU.

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Response to rainin (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 02:48 AM

18. Indignities that children faces.

As per my suggestion, I don't find this idea of enforcing anything such acts on the children while they are off to their study hours. They gets a very short span of time to take a break from their studies and in the meanwhile they interact with their friends and remove a mental block that occurred while continuously studying.
So,I'm totally not in a support of such a kind a situations. And its very important to maintain the decorum during the class hours is very important but during off classes, let the children take a break. This will allow them to concentrate on their studies with a fresh mind.

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Response to rainin (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 07:51 PM

19. I think

the greatest teachers know how to pick their battles, so to speak. There are things kids just aren't able to regulate on their own, and until they are developmentally ready, adults have to make decisions and insist on certain rules and requirements for them. The excerpt mentioned above has one major flaw - he or she wrote in the point of view of an adult with the rights adults don't misuse. There are some good reasons why certain things are decided for kids.

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