Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kid-Sized Problems Vs. Teacher-Sized Problems

My seven year-old, Brynn, brought some papers home from school yesterday--I didn't see them until after I got home from dropping her at school this morning. One page outlines issues/problems that a child might have at school and helps them determine if they should approach their teacher or just "work it out."

Kids get so many mixed signals in the classroom, often encouraged to "tattle" on other students for misbehavior, or required to ask permission for every single thing. I'm not surprised that they go to their teacher with everything because they're so used to seeking his/her approval on everything. I can see how this can become quite the problem as today's class sizes aren't getting any smaller, so I'm pleasantly surprised by a worksheet to help them determine what really needs to be brought to the teacher's attention.

Notice the title "Don't Squeal Unless It's a Big Deal" and my daughter's messy handwriting.

The paper defines Kid-Sized Problems as problems that kids can handle on their own by talking, listening, and helping others. Teacher-Sized Problems are problems that involve people or things getting hurt and it's an emergency.

Brynn was then asked to write down examples of kid-sized problems. I like that the child has to put some thought into it, but obviously they need guided answers. Brynn's answers are a bit confused:

  1. Getting a splinter. Brynn is nothing if not overly dramatic--a splinter is a big deal and almost always accompanied by tears. I don't think she can work this out by talking, listening, or with help from others.
  2. Pencil isn't sharpened. If she can pass her pencil to the kid next to the sharpener, then problem solved, but I'm pretty sure she can handle this one on her own.
  3. Picture isn't pretty. Good grief. I really hope this means that she's unsatisfied with her own pictures, but I'm almost certain she's willing to help the kid sitting next to her by "talking and helping" that kid with "constructive" criticism and color-palette recommendations.
The Teacher-Sized Problems scare the crap out of me, and I don't think they need an explanation:
  1. Bleeding to their death
  2. Weapons
  3. Alligators running around school
These sound more like they need Emergency Workers and/or SWAT team--I'm not sure a teacher is going to be much help there. 

I'm glad Brynn understands the possibilities of people "getting hurt" and the "emergency" in her listed Teacher-Sized Problem scenarios, but I'm not sure she really grasps the reasoning for this little exercise. That's one of the bad things about looking through her homework--I'm not really sure what was discussed--if this was just a random handout or if scenarios were gone over in detail (esp in light of all of the crazy school shootings across the US). I'll go over this with her when she gets home from school today. Not that I don't think alligators running around the school is an emergency situation, but there are sometimes scarier things than alligators... things with familiar names and faces--sometimes disguised as friends. 

Happy Wednesday!

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting and useful exercise for kids. Your daughter reminds me of myself when I was her age ;)