My boy was not happy unless he was doing something that he loved.
You’ve been distracted too many times today by that kid that just drew blood by stabbing another in the back with a pencil and is now kicking a student under the table in the kidneys! You’ve dealt with this kind of thing a hundred times before. You can’t express your feelings right now in front of the kids but boy, the end is nigh. You hold your tongue and pretend you’ve got this under control and focus on the kid who’s been asking for your help all morning. You smash through a few desperate moments with this well-deserved student only to be dragged back by a situation you can not ignore. There are five kids now enthusiastically flying off the wall throwing glue sticks at the heads of diligent students bowed in concentration.
There’s no point yelling anymore it does not work, long term at least. The kids have got your attention, and they are preparing themselves for victory edging each other on with smirks, smiles and looking for the best escape route. Some melt away in the crowd but others know they are cornered or are willingly giving themselves up, your coming, that’s it.
Sitting in front of you right now, with the odd tag along, is the boy waiting for your spin on events. He's also been through this a hundred times, probably most of his life. He knows what’s happening and awaits the outcome, which often does not solve the problem of his underlying frustrations.
To his surprise, you quietly sit and look at him without anger, and you ask, “Do you like school?”
“No” he replies
“Oh.” At this point, you are thinking, little so and so. After everything I do for you, the preparation, the planning, the sacrifice (sacrifice of others in the class) you tell me you’re bored! It’s time you got over yourself and get on with it ‘little fella’!
This teacher is me.
I feel shocked and slapped in the face by the raw honesty of this student. Maybe he’s right.
I am deeply challenged by the idea that I may not be providing the right learning opportunities for this boy. He looks intelligent, he’s undoubtedly articulate, and he’s got crazy amounts of energy.
What if this kid is bored?
What if I am partly responsible for his outburst and ongoing disruption by expecting him to sit through lesson after lesson which does not satisfy his longing for action and something meaningful.
What if I let him choose something to study which would hold his interest? Would he learn more? Would he learn less?
What if I let him choose his books, his math, his writing, his personal interests? Or should I simply push him harder and make him ‘do as he’s told’? It’s so incredibly taxing, exhausting, and robs others from the attention they deserve.