Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The "Teacher In Me"!: It's So Hard to Turn It Off!

The other day my teacher-friend and I headed down to the beach. We make the journey once a week to sit on the beach and relax, enjoying the view of the ocean and the warmth of the sun. During the week, it's not too crowded, but people still have to sit pretty close to each other.

We left the beach to grab some lunch, and by the time we returned, the family that was in front of us had been replaced. It was a family group, the grands, the children, and the adults that belonged to the children. I thought I was going to take a nap, but instead, I watched the dynamics of two of the children, the boy appeared to be about 6,  the girl 4 or 5.

Watching these two children brought out the "teacher in me". During the thirty minutes I watched them, my teacher-friend would look up from her book, and say things to me, "Don't say anything." Or, "Take your nap.",  At one point her "teacher" also came out and she said, "Did you hear what she told the girl?" It was like watching a train wreck, I couldn't take my eyes off of them.

Of course, I wouldn't say anything to the parents, although the "teacher in me" wanted to. But people nowadays are crazy, and constructive criticism could lead to a path I did not want to travel. BUT, if I could have said something to the parents, the first thing I would ask is for the Dad to put down his phone, stop texting, and help the Mom/Auntie with the kids.

Here are a few questions I would ask the Mom:

Do you realize that if your daughter screams, and slams her body down on the ground because she wants something someone else has, the teacher probably won't give it to her?

Do you realize that the teacher is probably not going to force the other child to give it to her? What will your daughter do then?

Do you realize that the other child is now angry? (And maybe that's why later as you packed up, he kept throwing her in the hole you dug, and wrapped his towel around her neck, and told you he was "just playing".)

Do you realize that when she is doing something wrong to another person, there will be consequences? No one is going to ask the other child to get out of her way.

Do you realize how hard it is to enjoy being around a child who repeatedly whines, and fake cries, each time you say no?

Do you realize that sometimes you have to actually solve conflicts, not just give in because it's easier?

I could go on, but I think those questions could help her rethink the whole parenting strategy she had going on. You never know, maybe, the Mom just reacted the way she did because they were in public. Maybe the kids are/will be well-behaved in school.

But as I watched the scenes play out, I kept thinking about the type of behavior these children might exhibit in a classroom. What an adjustment for that child, when the adults do not react the way Mommy does.

I never did get to take my nap. Yes, I should have just closed my eyes, and minded my own business.  But unfortunately, the "teacher in me" had other plans. :)


  1. I love this. I teach high school, but I see the evidence of this daily. You are nice; I am mean. I would have given the parents, and child, that teacher "I-will-gut-you-like-a-fish" stare. I have acutally done that in a store at teens who were misbehaving so badly that I was blushing. Yes, the teens left the store. Oh well, I got to shop in peace then. Keep the stories coming. I love them.

  2. I am the same way! I was at the public pool the other day and these kids were just running wild without any adults around.. it's like the parents just dropped their kids off at the pool and left. This one child (couldn't have been more than 1st grade) was yelling f bombs at his friend. It took all I could not to get involved, because if the parents were around and saw me get involved it could have gotten ugly.

  3. This is great! I have to really control my mouth when I see things happening in public that I wouldn't put up with in my class or my own home. Examples: seeing a parent verbally abusing their child in front of everyone. Or watching a child manipulate their parent into getting just what they want. I keep quiet if it would be something I'd have to say to the parent but if it's kids showing 'inappropriate' behavior I give them the "look" and they usually stop! I think it's a universal "look" we all have that does the trick. As for saying anything to children in public...never because the majority are taught not to talk to strangers and I want to respect that.