Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Do you blame the parents?

For over 20 years, I have heard that children are less responsible now than they once were.  Shoot!  I am pretty sure I heard that I was less responsible than the kids who came before me!

Is the level of responsibility and self-reliance of kids declining?  Do kids perform fewer chores than they once did?  Are students less able to organize and maintain their "stuff" at school?  Can they find their own stuff?  Can they organize their own thinking?  Do they seem more helpless than a few years ago?

At school, teachers constantly create new and improved methods to keep the kids organized.  We want them to find their "stuff."  We want them to hold on to it until they need it again.  We want them to be responsible for it.  Binders and color-coded folders and labels and dividers and shelves and cubbies and trays and boxes and checklists and rubrics and agendas and planners and...on and on and on...  Some classes have ALL of those things.

Some kids can handle our systems of organization perfectly.  They do so every year, regardless of how the teachers differ in their approach.  Other kids are seemingly hopeless each year, regardless of how the teachers differ in their approach.  And variations in between.

Some kids keep a messy desk, have a messy backpack, they leave their lunch in the car at least once a week, and they never seem to get homework done.  Nothing gets signed and returned on time either.

Some kids have a tough time taking responsibility for their own choices.  They will try to blame others rather than looking at their own actions, "Little Glenn made me do it!"

Unorganized, or irresponsible, or always pointing a finger...who do you blame?

Some teachers look at the kids and blame the parents.  They say things like, "If parents did a better job at home, kids wouldn't be like that."

This statement may actually be true some of the time.  It doesn't matter.

Blaming anyone for a child's behavior is a waste of time.  Instead, look forward and focus your energies on teaching this child how to act in your classroom and in your school.  Teach the kid the behavior you seek.  It is OK to teach kids that there are a different set of rules and a different mindset for success at school.  Create a classroom that works for this student to be successful at school.

Or...deal with the status quo.