Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Teachers Aren't Mean

I'm going to share something that I hope doesn't get people upset.
I know, as a parent, we hear about "mean" teachers all the time.  You know those teachers that yell, a lot.  Those teachers that don't seem to let their kids wiggle an inch without being all over them.

I get it now.

I mean, I know there are exceptions to every rule and sometimes, there may be a person out there who really is mean.  It happens.  We all wish it didn't, but it does.  I'm not talking about those people who end up on the news, because they are generally bad people, I'm talking about your every man or woman teacher who seems just to be grumpy with the kids.

This year in my troop, I have about 32 girls.  I have parents in the room with the troop and I, but let's be honest, there are many days where I feel likes its me versus them.
It isn't that I think we have an adversarial relationship.  I love those girls.  Its that I feel like I'm fighting the ocean sometimes.  I have good control.  I can usually keep them quiet, but this year, it feels a little more overwhelming than it ever has before.
I have a few that I Think are trying to give me a coronary.  I isn't that they are bad, but that they can't be still.  I mean, we meet right after school.  Those kids are tired of still.  Unfortunately, our programming needs some still in it.  It also needs some quiet.  Let me tell you how well that works.
It doesn't.
I try to adapt, but I swear there is only so much i can do.
We use a call and response for me to snap them back to attention.  Its one of those things where I yell something, and they yell something back.  We have a million of them, but my favorite is:
me: "Hocus Pocus"
Them "Everybody Focus".
Its cute, right? 
Until the 15th time in a single hour. 
Then, I get that the magic in my hocus and my pocus is just gone.

At that point, and on days like today, where I have seriously told one child to leave the P.E. teacher's bones alone no less than 5 times, separated 3 groups of kids, and found myself with a buddy (aka you cant sit by anybody but me today) all within an hour and a half that I totally get the "mean" teachers.
They can't help it.  They aren't mean, they are tired. 
They aren't mean, but they are sure that if they give an inch, someone is going to take that inch and find a way to turn it into a mile of crazy. 
They are frustrated.

See, I'm in this position because we don't have enough volunteer parents.  Like I said, I have parents in the room, I am required to, but I'm talking about parents that want to get into the thick of things and really volunteer.  So, I take all comers, hold on for dear life, and hope for the best.  It isn't always what i would want, but at least they get something instead of nothing. 

Teachers are in this position because no one who decides how many kids in a class is appropriate has ever stood in front of 27 kids who just don't get what you are putting down and you are the one who has to figure out how to feed it into 27 different minds with different learning styles simultaneously, while dealing with those kids who have special needs, kids who have home life problems, kids who need to wiggle and jump, and so on, and so on. 
I would be mean, too.  Every day of my life. 
I remember when I was in elementary school, we had like 20 kids, at most, to a class, and there was a teacher's assistant.  Remember those wonderful ladies?  They did the prepwork,  helped out kids who needed it, and so on. 
No, forget the assistant, and in some schools parents aren't even allowed in any more. 

I think, if we want to find ourselves without mean teachers, we need to refocus and change our thinking.  It isn't a problem with the people we are hiring (exceptions noted), but with the conditions we put them in. 
I don't want to be a mean Scout leader, but I also don't want to have to yell "macaroni" (the correct response from my girls is "Cheese") 25 times in an hour to try to bring some semblance of peace back into a room.

We, as a society need to really take the time to tell our elected officials what we want in our schools, and even more importantly, we need to urge them to find ways to pay for it.  I know that is a whole other post, but I really think our kids and our teachers are worth it. 

Think about it.  If you could pay an extra $100 a year in a tax that went just for schools to be able to keep there from being "mean" teachers any more, wouldn't you?  I would.  No doubt.  If in that hundred you can also find me an assistant troop leader, that would be great.  My girls and I would all appreciate it, greatly. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Old Age is Hard on Scouts

     I am writing this blog as a plea to the general, cookie buying, public.  I know those cute little girls in the blue and brown Girl Scout uniforms are hard to resist when they ask you to buy cookies.  I know those big doe eyes on a 5 year old make it impossible to say no.  I know because I have one.  I'm glad their cuteness works and you stop to buy a box of cookies even if you don't want it.
     In our troop, we are thankful for every box sold.  I want to ask you, though, please, please, don't pass up the older girls.  Teenagers are hard.  I know, I have one of those, too.  As a troop leader, its even harder to keep the older girls engaged.  They have so much more to do between school work, many after school activities, and having a normal teenage social life.  So, to see them continue to invest in a program that is teaching them to be strong women who will change the world makes my heart soar.  The Biggest One is now a Cadette in Scouts.  She wears the tan uniform, usually with a cat ear headband, and she looks like she is 15, even though she isn't.  She is smart, funny, and driven.  She already has a plan for her life that I wish I had at her age.  This year, she is implementing that plan by going to a special camp where she will start as a councilor in training.  Her plan is, by the time she turns 16, be a junior camp counselor, and at 18, be a Girl Scout camp counselor all through college each summer for her summer job to help pay for books.
     The thing is, this camp is expensive.  Even more so than a normal scout camp.  In fact, most of her activities are more expensive as an older scout.  So each and every one of those boxes of cookies she sells are vitally important to her.  She needs to raise the money to be able to get to her camp, learn more about astronomy with trips to the closest observatory, as she is still trying to decide between astronomy and microbiology as degree and career path (she is leaning toward microbiology as she wants to be able to research lupis and find a cure or treatment that actually works).  Knowing that she needs to sell more, she works harder.  She works with every one of those little doe eyed girls and shows them how to sell cookies.  She teaches and trains them like a champ.  After all, she has been selling since she was a little doe eyed 5 year old.  She is willing to go house to house for hours.  She will work every single booth sale I allow her, in between play practice on weekends and all county band.  Even with all that hard work, she can't sell as many as the cute little girls do.  For some reason, it is easier to say no to the older girls. I guess you think they can take it. The last time she went door to door, she went to street after street, and only sold 5 boxes.  Hours of work for 5 boxes.  She was ready to go out for more, though.  She wants that sale.  Same thing happens at both sales.  I pair her with a little one as often as I can so that the sales are higher for her.  She knows it, too, but she doesn't let it stop her.  I respect that drive, and I wish every one out there would, too.
     So, the next time a girl in a tan uniform knocks on your door, please open it and consider buying a box.  If they are still selling by the time they look like they are about to drive, it means they are strong, dedicated girls who will be the next leaders and game changers of our world.  Consider that dedication, and buy a box, even though they don't have doe eyes, even though they may be as tall or taller than you, and even though they might wear cat ears when they ask.  I promise it means as much if not more than the box you buy from the cute little bitty ones.  Don't stop buying from the cute little ones, either.  I'm just saying, a scout is a scout, and consider your purchase equally.  After all, I have three girls, from the cute little doe eyed one in a blue uniform, to a middle aged (for scouts) girl in the Girl Scout green uniform, up to my oldest in the tan.  She is almost as tall as me, which is another of her life goals, but don't let that stop you.  Buy a box.  Please.  I promise she will say thank you.

If you want to buy any boxes from any of my girls, you can buy from the littlest one here.

You can buy from the middle one (she is pretty cute, too, though I didn't get to talk much about her in this blog) here.

And last, but not least at all, the biggest one here.

No matter who you buy from, what council, what age of girl, I appreciate each of you who buy cookies, and please, don't forget that if you can't eat them, you can treat them to members of the military by donating cookies.  (Cookie donations to the military are also tax deducible if your into that kind of thing!!)

Thanks again, and try the new S'mores cookie.