Two Steps Forward…Two Steps Back…

A little Paula Abdul? Anyone?? “Opposites Attract”? No? Oh well…

I love to read. I want my students to love to read, but I know that reading can be hard. It’s hard to teach too – we can’t always tell what’s going on in that little head or determine what is the best way to help. I try to encourage my kids to be independent readers, and don’t want to over-help, but then again, you don’t want to push to hard and make them feel constantly frustrated. I guess in that way, I feel like we’re always taking steps forward and back. (I’m trying to tie the song in here, people, it’s not easy always coming up with a clever title.)

I try really hard to make sure that my students have something they find WORTH reading too because there is nothing worse than struggling through something hard that you don’t care about either. (Believe me, if I didn’t care about my job or my students, it would NOT be worth the struggle.) So, I let them read newspapers, magazines, non-fiction, fiction…whatever…just read something!!! With some friends it’s working, with others…they still look at me like I’m crazy when it’s private reading time. (sigh)

So you can imagine how PISSED I was the other day when the adults on recess duty informed me that my children were going to lose recess for the next week. (Seriously, a WEEK??!? I mean, like they’re going to remember what they did wrong a week after it happened…And really? EVERY child? EVERYONE needs to get punished? Because really…when they don’t get recess…you’re punishing ME too. How do you expect them to sit and listen ALL DAY without any time to blow off some steam??? I’m not saying that they don’t misbehave, but COME ON!!! You squeeze 80 kids in a tiny gym with nothing to do and only two adults? What did you think was going to happen?)

And it gets better. During the WEEK that they/we are all being punished, they have to bring books with them. So they can read. As punishment. Reading as punishment.

There are so many problems here, I don’t even know where to start.

1. Again, a WHOLE WEEK (for everyone) without recess…ridiculous.
2. Reading as a punishment. Dude. Duuuuuude. Why are you doing this to me? To them? How do you think my little strugglers are going to take to finding a good book now?
3. Do you have any idea, recess ladies, how many books we are going to LOSE?? They don’t grow on trees, you know.
4. What about the idea of “logical consequences?” Anyone? Anyone? No? Or the kids who really weren’t doing anything wrong or even know what happened?

A few of my colleagues felt similarly and tried to approach the recess adults with an alternative solution. One that still allowed children to be punished for whatever happened (I still don’t really understand what happened…when I asked, I was told that they were “just bad.” Not that they made bad choices, they are just bad. Arg). Any sort of attempt at a dialogue was met with “just do what you’re told.”

I’m not even going to get into that one. It would just be nice, for once, if all the adults in the building were on the same page, because not everything needs to feel like a battle.

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