Friday, July 19, 2019

The negative Impact of teacher language

"I know you all are old enough to know better!"

"Do as I say 'cause I know you all can!"

"Do I need to take all these books home with me? I can't even get through one page without you interrupting. Look at this ridiculousness."

"Don't touch my things!"

My heart is breaking. This isn't what I heard adults say to children - this is what my daughter is yelling at her stuffed animals while playing school. This is apparently what she's being exposed to.

"You guys want to disrespect on your first day of fun stuff?"

"Like yesterday was a good example, but now you guys are just yelling and things like that. You all are like animals."

It just keeps going. Those stuffed animals are clearly having a tough time in school.

"You guys should know what to do."

"You guys know better." 

"I'm going to give you the special treat after, but only if you are good."

"Monk-monk, I don't want to hear a word from you."

"Whose book is this? Just left over here? Well, bye-bye your book honey! I guess you don't want it anymore you just leave it around."

So many of these phrases are ones that I hate hearing teachers use. They go against Ross Green's statement of belief, "Kids do well if they can."

And they aren't effective. These statements don't change behavior. They just make grown ups feel like they are in control of the situation, and remind the grown up that they are bigger than the child.

Last week my daughter came downstairs sobbing in the middle of the night. She shook her finger at me and shouted, "YOU ARE TEACHING ME BAD HABITS! IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!" The next morning, she wouldn't talk to me about it, and wouldn't share where she got that idea from. But I suspect it was either said directly to her, or she overheard it from a teacher.

Comments like that - even something as simple as "In your house you may put your feet on the table, but here we use manners!" serve to build a wall between home and school. They send the message to the child that whatever is going on at home is wrong, and only school is correct. For many families - this is also a culture divide, where a white teacher is telling a child of another race that their culture is wrong. That's clearly not the case here, but the judgement I feel from the school is all the same.

It was a rough PANDAS day. At the end of the day my oldest put her head on my shoulder and said, "I wish there was no such thing as PANDAS."

Me too, my love. Me too.

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