Sometimes I look around the classrooms in which I work and am amazed by a select handful of students. You see, it’s been my experience that the vast majority of school children these days are disrespectful, lack common sense, and are generally unable to sit still for more than an average of 2.47 seconds. But there are a few who constantly surprise me by being well-behaved.
In speaking with one of the teachers, I mentioned some of these well-behaved students and remarked at how I wish they could all be like these few. Yes, I know, as a counselor I’m likely supposed to encourage the individuality and uniqueness found in every small child. Too often, however, that unique individuality includes frustrating behavior and blatant refusal to meet any minor expectations set before them.
No doubt, teachers have been expressing this wish for generations. They take note of the kids who sit quietly and follow instructions to the letter while most of the class embraces chaos. Maybe that is the case, but it sure seems like the problem is only getting worse. Maybe I only perceive it that way because now I’m the adult who witnesses the behavior through the eyes of an authority figure. I’m old now, and I long for the good ol’ days when children behaved themselves simply because it was the right thing to do.
As I recall, I was one of those precious little ones who did everything that was asked of me. I stayed seated until called upon to move. I raised my hand until called upon to speak. I followed the rules of the classroom and never once stepped out of line. I constantly overheard teachers talking to each other about having me as a student. If only I had a dollar for every time someone said, “I sure wish more of my students were like Aaron!”
Truth be told, I was generally a pretty decent kid. But there for a while, I was a little too clever for my own good. During my first grade year in particular I had a tendency to complete my assignments quickly. Left to my own devices, I sometimes became disruptive. I don’t think I ever saw the inside of the principal’s office, but I do know that a number of letters were sent home and parent/teacher conferences were held.
But I would love to deal with kids that exhibit that sort of problem. They act out because they’re bored. And they’re bored because they’ve already followed the teacher’s directions and need a little extra work to keep them occupied. Instead, while they still misbehave out of boredom, their boredom is brought on by their own apathy and refusal to do their work. The work that should occupy them is what makes them hate school. I’m not saying that teachers need to find more inventive and entertaining ways to assign classwork. I think teachers today are doing more than enough to keep up with the changing times and educational trends. What I might suggest is that parents stop using video games and tablets as babysitters. Kids don’t know how to respond to something that doesn’t have flashing lights and isn’t interactive. Your typical worksheet doesn’t come with a touch screen. Hence the rampant boredom.
On a related note, what’s the deal with flu epidemics targeting the best behaved in school? The most disruptive students are the ones with a perfect attendance record. Coincidence?