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.