I was volunteering in my daughters class earlier this week and WOW! Do I have a new respect for elementary teachers. And I thought preschool teachers had it hard. This week I was put in charge of the computer lab, which lets be honest is Clem’s neighborhood because several computers are broken or their audio was not working. What I noticed is that the teacher is certainly dodging balls left and right with these kids. Keeping them focused, keeping them in line, squashing bad behavior from some kids and squashing those who tease the kids for getting in or about to get in trouble.
What I noticed is that there was certainly a pattern between the boys and girls roles in the class. Girls tend to be more of the tattlers, varying on their degree of sensitivity when dealing or witnessing an alarming habit or incident. Most girls just call it out, without pause! Whether it’s a boy poking them, or a boy dropping their book on the floor by accident. Most of the time the teacher is able witness the incident in real time but when you are wrangling 26 kids, she doesn’t have eyes in the back of her head to catch everything.
Right now these kids have only been in school 3 1/2 weeks, so the teacher is still learning who is the authentic tattler and who’s the overly sensitive one who needs to take it down a notch. Overall, I was impressed how quickly the teacher reacted. Boys are a totally different matter. What’s was astonishing was their boys behavior in the class. The obvious habit for most boys is being aggressive with each other. If a girl is involved the bar of tolerance would be really low. With two boys, the bar is high. You can blame these habits on whatever you like but in truth, you could swing a cat and what ever you hit could be blamed for boys aggressive playful behavior.
The one thing that does seem to be a dominant boy behavior, is teasing. Man, do boys tease each other. Especially when they’re down for the count. The kiss of death in a classroom is the shame of the dunce cap, or you could easily call it the “cone of shame”. In todays terms, the cone is really a TIME-OUT. Come on you know what the dunce cap is! I actually had two elementary teachers back in the 80’s who actually used a dunce cap. Not a literal dunce cap, but a hat that branded me for my bad behavior. Most teachers just put me in a time out.
While I didn’t witness an actual time out. Some boys have already experienced this fate in the last 3 weeks. I know this because when ever certain boys were called out by the teacher or myself to stop doing something their no supposed to. The other boys swooped in and commenced teasing the child by saying things like “You’re gonna get a time-out, You’re gonna get a time-out!” or “Oooh! Teacher he’s being bad and needs a time-out!”. Boy’s love to tease and some boys just don’t know when to quit. Thankfully my daughters teacher was able catch the teasers in action but obviously that’s a hard task. I stopped a few myself as well. And I got a good dose of reality, the kid who was always in trouble was now calling out a new wave of bad behavior.
It’s amazing how these two bad habits are so prevalent at this age. I am not sure what it is about this whole notion the kids have to adopt these roles based on sex. What is more interesting is that I never really witnessed the kids having these roles or behaviors in preschool. Well okay, tattling maybe but I am not sure that role was exclusive just to the girls back then.