School in this area will be back in session in the next several weeks for almost everyone. My children are overly enthused about the opportunity to return to the building where they learn of equations, state capitals and sedimentary rocks. Actually, they are excited even if it is only brief to see friends and the fact that they have the opportunity to get a few new additions to the wardrobe and a new bookbag (I don’t see anything wrong with last years’ bookbag). My wife is now rolling her eyes in light of my opinion on bookbags.
Having a career in education for more than a decade has brought about many memorable moments, both good and bad. It would be deceptive of me to entertain the idea that all of my experiences while teaching have been “hunky-dory.” Regardless, there haven’t really been any majorly detestable personal scenarios, only “learning opportunities.”
One of the more recent favorable “learning opportunities” came about during a kindergarten physical education class. Surely each of you could envision the compelling environment that exists on an elementary school playground with 60-70 five- and six-year old’s. If not, let me be of assistance. There is an area outside the brick walls of the normal classroom where children feel “freedom” from the constant reminder to “be quiet’ and “stay seated” or “stay in line.” There are no desks, chalkboards or textbooks but to think that learning is not taking place would be silly. Think back to your childhood days in relation to P.E. class and fond memories probably exist involving slides, swings or climbing apparatuses.
On this particular day, a student was involved in what could have been a harmless accident or a rude act involving personal space. Either way there was sand and tears all over the young boy’s face. As he approached me with hope that I would be the fix-all in his current situation, I heard one of his classmates approach him with major concern and encouragement. His young friend asked if he had been pushed down as he brushed the dirt away from his face. Words were hard to make out through the moaning and sobbing as the young boy was still very upset. His accomplice was very clear with his response to the situation. He told his friend that if in fact he had been pushed down that if he would merely point out the perpetrator that he would “get them back” for his defeated comrade.
For those of you that were concerned that I allowed retaliation, that didn’t happen. Also, we don’t condone violence in our class. However, this was a great “learning opportunity.”
Parents: teach your kids to stand up for children that are being picked on or bullied in any way. Teach them that going along with it and not saying anything makes them just as guilty as the ones the actions are coming from. Teachers: form your own opinion about the students in your class. Don’t take the word of the teacher down the hall from you that is on the edge of retirement that can’t wait to hit the time clock one last time. Most likely the students in their class realize they aren’t entirely present and may not give the same effort that they would for a teacher that invests in their life. Don’t allow negativity to creep in before you have even taught the first class of the year. Students: Befriend those kids that seem to be loners. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
John 15:13 states, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Love is an action verb. On this day in a giant sandbox called the “playground” this child may not have learned the answer to some great mathematical equation; however, he did learn about love. He learned that regardless of the situation, he could at least rely on this one friend to go to battle with him.