Another vent about my first graders (well, sort of)...

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Sarge, Apr 30, 2010.

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  1. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    This time they apparently bullied a seventh grader.

    He was apparently not where he was supposed to be (in class) but was instead sitting atop the slide, preventing any kids from going down.

    Of course, in their minds, this called for a team effort to dislodge him from that location.

    Several pushed from above and others pulled from below as he was quite large, even by seventh grader standards. This resulted in the seventh grader being "dogpiled" (his words) and "his shoe falling off" (their words).

    Of course, when his shoe "fell off" it ended up in the hands of a first grader who found himself at the bottom of the slide and then took the opportunity to bury the said shoe in the wood chips. He then realized it would be more fun to return the shoe to its owner, filled with wood chips. So he did. Upon which, the seventh grader took the shoe and started hitting first graders with it.

    This would have been an entirely amusing story, except for the fact that they picked one our more emotionally unstable seventh graders to pick on (which you may have already figured out since he was atop the slide instead of in class). So he went from thinking this was all funny to being really angry at my students in a matter of seconds.

    So all of a sudden, he was screaming hysterically, and going about angrily threatening all of my students. This attracted the attention of the VP, and put me in the odd situation of having to defend my students (come on, if YOU were in first grade and a big kid was blocking the slide, what you you do?). But because this kid has a history of being bullied (by seventh graders), the VP decided to give full weight to his side of the story and I actually had to intervene to keep my whole class from losing a lunch recess.

    I made my kids apologize, but he just shot back an angry retort and rolled his eyes. At that point, I just told my students to stay away from him and don't listen to him (they tell me he swears a lot).

    Since we've gone from being a K-6 school to K-8, the 7th and 8th graders have been absolutely wonderful with the little kids. I honestly think the presence of the younger children actually motivates the older students to not be as obnoxious as they might normally be (hey, I can say this because I used to teach middle school).

    My big worry is that events like this might cause them to reduce even further the contact that the middle grade students have with the primary grade students - like they might tell us no outside PE when older students are also outside having PE. That would mean, of course, a complete ban on PE for primary grades, since the upper grades have dedicated PE teachers who have classes outside at any given time of the day.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Well, for starters, no one should be mad at YOU, since you only teach the kids who bullied him.

    Where were the adults when all this was going on? (I assume you were on a break?) And why was no one searching the highways and byways for a 7th grader who was supposed to be in class and missing?

    Of course, the gist of the story is that the first graders were absolutely wrong. My daughter is in 1st and my son in 6th, and she can be quite the bully if she chooses to do so. It's time to have some serious conversations with your kids about how ganging up on someone is wrong, and the function of all those adults on the playground during recess. We all know that kids learn so much in those early years-- successful bullying should NOT be one of those lessons.

    I know they're cute and adorable, but your kids were wrong. Personally, I think they SHOULD have lost the lunch recess. They made a choice as to how to resolve a conflict, and it was the wrong one.

    But I think the 7th grader teacher should be quite busy explaining why there wasn't a huge search for a missing student, particularly an "emotionally unstable" one. As should every adult on that playground who didn't see 20 six year olds gang up on a 13 year old.
     
  4. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    While the first grade students may have been wrong in what they did... they are only first grade students. They don't have the difference between "playing" and "not playing" down. Not only that, but once you get a group of them riled up, it takes TREMENDOUS skill to get them calmed down again. Not easily done.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, I think my daughter has a very good grasp on the difference between playing nicely with a friend and ganging up on someone they all dislike.
     
  6. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Sarge has the class from you know where this year. He has been working very hard to teach them right from wrong but they are still learning. There should have been a consequence but a whole lunch recess isn't the best situation for them. Maybe seven minutes on the bench. His students really do need to run run and run some more.
     
  7. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Sarge how many days do you have left with this lovely group? Next year can only get better!
     
  8. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Well congratulations on raising a wonderful daughter (that may come of sounding sarcastic, but it's not intended that way.)

    I have seen, however, that when kids get in groups, even the sweetest little ones can get carried away. It's the whole "mob" mentality.
     
  9. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    dleming,
    Alice isn't saying her daughter is perfect/sweet. She is saying she knows the difference between right and wrong. Notice she mentioned her daughter can bully her son. She said that the students should have had a consequence. She would expect that her daughter would receive one if she acted that way.
     
  10. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I'm not saying she said her daughter is perfect/sweet. I am honestly congratulating her for raising a wonderful daughter. I have no reason to believe otherwise.

    In other words, I don't disagree with you :lol:

    Personally, as far as a consequence, I feel that in this instance, a lesson on making good choices would be sufficient.
     
  11. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    It depends on how many times they have bullied before. I know it has never been to a 7th grader. But have they bullied another first grader, second grader or kindergartner?
     
  12. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I just really think that the two situations are completely different. While some kids may have bullied other students individually... this was a mob thing. I still hesitate to use the word bully in this instance, apart from the 7th grader who was bullying the first graders. The first graders made a poor choice in how to defend themselves. (An even poorer choice with the shoe.)
     
  13. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    I also want to know where the person/people in charge of the 7the grader was at this time. We have a similar student with a one on one aid. He is huge, even for an adult. The student likes to run away and often heads for one of the playgrounds. He will also lay in the middle of the hall when he doesn't want to cooperate. He can be very violent. We were instructed to steer clear of him.

    I agree that kids can go from playing to not playng (in the "victim's") mind very quickly. I also think the principal was wromg and that the 7th grader should be held accountable for his actions to a degree that is reasonable for his ability.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Ummm... thanks? She's a total delight when I don't want to kill her. But I only mentioned her as a frame of reference.

    Isn't that something they should be taught is wrong?

    OK, maybe I'm wrong on the particular punishment; I only deal with one first grader at a time. From what Sarge has said in the past, this is no innocent group of kids set upon by a big bad teenager... they've managed to find at least their fair share of trouble themselves.

    But I think that this is indeed a teachable moment. And that being young shouldn't mean that they're allowed to bully (Not that Sarge or anyone else has suggested that.)

    Bottom line as I see it:
    a) The 7th grader should have been in class. Appropriate action should be taken on that front.
    b) Every adult in that building should have been searching the highways and byways for the missing 7th grader. It's incredibly lucky that he chose to hang out on a slide instead of getting himself hurt or into some real mischief.
    c) The incident took some time. Why were there no adults stepping in? What if it had been an adult exposing himself to kids on that slide instead of a 7th grader cutting class? WHy weren't the kids better supervised?
    d) If my daughter and her friends are typical, then tattling is incredibly big at this age. Why didn't they choose to find one of those supervising adults and tell on the 7th grader?
    e) Bullying is wrong, at any time, from any age group, for any reason. Call it "mob mentality" if you want; it's many kids ganging up on one to get what they want. And it's wrong. And they knew it was wrong. Teachable moment here. The lesson should be sufficient that they think twice and make a much better choice should the opportunity ever again present itself.

    Would it have been any different it the kid on the slide had been in 4th grade? 2nd? 1st? A large pre-K kid? A tiny pre-K kid??? Not in my book.
     
  15. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Alice- Your daughter and her friend sound like typical 1st graders..Tattling is HUGE at that age!
     
  16. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm a K teacher and formerly a 1st grade aide and honestly, I'm a bit surprised that these students wouldn't receive a great consequence for their actions. I don't care if it IS a mob mentality. They have to learn that it was WRONG. I don't care if the 7th grader was wrong. The first graders didn't do their part right either. Part of teaching them is teaching them to accept consequences for their actions. I personally WOULD have given them the lunch detention and I would have made a big deal about it too. I would have then gone to class and did some role-playing to help them understand how they could have better handled the situation. A lunch detention is not going to hurt anybody, not even a first grader. It can serve to be a good reminder that bullying is wrong. They should know that you are very disappointed in them.

    I've had students miss snack time with their friends and even library time because that's how long it took them to tell me the truth about something and that's the consequence of their actions. This was a 40 minute period. They had to have help from the behavior consultant to finally get it out. My students learned that I don't tolerate lying. NOw I make it an effort to tell them how much I appreciate their honesty. A child who lied to me 3 times earlier this year is now telling other adults at recess when she has a time out (my 3rd time out this year--rarely given) and is quick to be completely honest with me. This was a child I was told lied a lot last year. I follow up by emailing parents and tell them how proud I am of the student's behavior. The kids know I value honesty. If I'm that tough on honesty, I wouldn't be any less tough on bullying.

    I'm really a softie for the most part and have built a good rapport with the kids. They want to do things right. They know I love them but there are certain things I don't tolerate. My students know I expect them to be good friends to each other. We talk about this DAILY. The special needs teacher tells me my class is the only class she feels that treats her class with respect. It's all about teaching. I know you are a good teacher Sarge. It is very evident on these boards. I'm just surprised that the mob mentality would be a good defense for not receiving a good consequence for bullying.
     
  17. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Here's a little more information.

    One of my students began with asking him nicely to move. He either ignored her, or said no, I'm not sure.

    At first, the seventh grader told me he was "just sitting there, and someone yelled 'attack' and all of a sudden they were dogpiling him." What he left out was that he was sitting on top of the slide and not letting any of my kids use it.

    An adult who saw the incident said that the seventh grader was laughing as he was hitting my students with his shoe. This would indicate that my kids may have thought that he was a willing participant in a game.

    None of the kids involved have ever bullied anyone before.

    I was actually out there with them when this happened, and saw something happening on the slide, but all I could see were my students going up the wrong way, and walked over to stop it . I didn't see the seventh grader. By the time I got there, it gotten to the point where the seventh grader was running around chasing my students.

    I determined who the major culprits were, and the VP had them clean tables at lunch recess. Now two of them want to clean tables every day as a permanent job.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    An adult SAW it and didn't stop it??? Knowing that the 7th grader didn't belong there with 1st graders????
     
  19. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    The adult was a parent in the parking lot.
     
  20. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    It sounds like the 1st graders might have thought of it like a game, and might not have had bad intentions. I know, they still need to be taught that even as a game, those were not wise decisions because someone could get hurt. In any case, it sounds as though the guilty was dsciplined, and now would like that same punishment permanently (cleaning the tables).

    Sarge-I never realized you taught 1st grade as well. How long have you taught 1st grade?
     
  21. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    This doesn't look good that you were there and escalated to this. :unsure: It also doesn't look good that you don't know what happen. :unsure: What were doing, watching?, while most of your students were by the slide? I would think you'd be monitoring the slide knowing this boy is unstable.
     
  22. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    It sounds like it came to a good resolution :thumb:

    but what got me is this...

    Don't ever excuse a mob mentality.:2cents:
     
  23. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    We have two play structures and the kids were using both of them, along with a few other classes - it had rained most of the day, and teachers were taking their kids out to make up lost recesses.

    I did not see the seventh grader until after the incident had happened.

    I believe the 7th grader was actually part of a photography class that was allowed freedom to go about the upper grade side of the school taking pictures.

    As I said, I saw something happening on the slide. I blew my whistle signal to line up. Upon hearing that, my offending students may have stopped what they were doing and came over to line up. But that's when the seventh grader started chasing them. He could have ended it there by just coming to me, but he chose to go after the kids instead.

    As I said, the first graders are accustomed to the middle school kids being very patient with them. I'm certain they thought he was playing a game and thought it was funny.
     
  24. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Do you ever feel like people only read half of your posts? I feel like that's been going around a lot lately, and could save a lot of problems.

    I've never said I would excuse any of it. Never.
     
  25. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Actually dfleming, the posts did get a little blurred all in one for me. I admit, the original post (sorry Sarge) saying that first graders dogpiled someone and then lunch detention was too much for this group really did set me off a bit. Given the later details, I agree that it was handled appropriately. The details that changed for me later was the ones that made it seem like they might have thought it was a game. Otherwise, I wouldn't have felt that way. Sarge is a good teacher and I knew I was probably overreacting but bullying is a tough issue. Someone yelling "attack" and a kid being dogpiled because he was blocking a slide is not the proper way to handle the situation. Granted first graders don't know how to solve problems adequately but we are there to teach them and bullying is a big enough issue to warrant a big punishment. Again, later details told me Sarge handled it right but I did get bent out of shape over the initial thoughts even though I know Sarge on these boards long enough to know he's a smart cookie. Sorry.

    There seems to be several threads on here lately where nothing happens to the kids because it was a group thing. It bugs me.
     
  26. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Side Note: The whistle thing is such a foreign concept for me having grown up deaf and working in a deaf school. What I wouldn't give for an instant way to get everyone's attention.
     
  27. newbie87

    newbie87 Comrade

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    I read these post on AtoZ as I would someone telling me this in real life. If I find a story "off", trying to be polite, I treat it the same as I would real life. I can't be one of the posters who reads a story that sounds made up or very bad for the OP and say a made up PC answer to make OP feel better. Sometimes in life, or as a teacher, you mess up. I don't think walking with the attitude of "OMG! My class was punished and they did NOTHING, it was everyone ELSE's fault!" learns you anything. I don't think the story sounds good for OP and I don't like the attitude, from the OP, that there's an excuse for everything. In fact, OP should be glad a strong punishment wasn't given to their class imo, or to themself. :unsure:
     
  28. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Sarge, I think that clearly some posters do not have enough experience in the real world of teaching to appreciate how situations like this can occur out of nowhere.

    I think that the class might think twice before engaging in aggressive "games" like this any time soon. I never got the impression that you walk around in a haze of denial about your class either. I do think that only we as teachers know our class, no matter how many times we may post about them. You were there, you know what was intentional, what was playing, and what was crossing the line.

    BTW I thought the story was kind of funny when I read it. :whistle:
     
  29. SunnyGal

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    Well said.

    You can be an extremely experienced teacher and still have things like this happen before you have time to blink. At my school, kids have the opportunity to eat lunch outside in the courtyard. There are always adults out there on duty. They're watching the kids like they're supposed to, yet fights still break out occasionally. That doesn't mean that those teachers are completely incompetent and should feel guilty that a fight broke out. It happens.
     
  30. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    We have had a few fights on our playground with three adults out there watching about 60 students. The playground is fairly large so they walk around in sections to watch the kids. It's still hard to see the whole section you are monitoring. So the same situation could happen on our playground that happened at Sarge's. The only difference is we are only a k-5 school.
     
  31. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    This kid is not that bad. He's not on any kind of IEP or even a behavior plan for all I know. Just a long history of being rude and defiant towards others and really bad social skills. He's a regular ed. student and is generally treated as such, including when he gets in trouble. He just always has a chip on his shoulder.

    Yes. My main point was that the seventh grader got no more of a consequence than my students did. They were basically guilty of getting too rowdy on the play structure and violating a number of playground rules - no going up the slide, no pushing, etc. The seventh grader, on the other hand, went a bit farther than that. He also should have known when to quit.

    Of course, he also could have just moved and let the first graders use the slide. Then nothing would have happened.
     
  32. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Unfortunately, even with the best supervision stuff happens. These kids are 6 years old. They are incredibly impulsive and took matters into their own hands. We have a large playground with 3 staff supervising and stuff just happens. Yes, a lot is prevented with teacher presence, but kids don't always think things all the way through. They react.
     
  33. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    AMEN, SISTER-FRIEND!
     
  34. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    Exactly!
     
  35. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    He might. We have a lot of moms like that. I forget who's who sometimes.
     
  36. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    With all due respect, what attitude are you referring to? And why should Sarge be punished?? I do not have duty every lunch/recess. Sometimes I go to the bathroom (when I am not responsible for my kids), or go to have copies made, or go get coffee, etc. and I expect that those who are in charge are, well, in charge. I can't be made responsible for something my kids do away from me when I am not even with them and others are responsible at that time.
     
  37. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Why should the teacher be punished for his/her students' actions outside of the classroom?
     
  38. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    YTG, I don't think that just because a misbehavior happens outside of the classroom the teacher is necessarily free and clear. If I am to be monitoring them, clearly I am responsible for my students during recess...but being responsible doesn't mean that there will never been an issue.

    But clearly, based on the information provided, Sarge "shouldn't be glad" he wasn't dealt a harsh consequence. He did nothing wrong.
     
  39. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Sometimes I think we'd all be better off if we ignored posts by pot-stirrers...
     
  40. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    When I send my kids to recess, the teachers on yard duty are in charge of supervision--not me.

    Yes, I should be "free and clear" if they get themselves into trouble during recess. How can I be held responsible for a bad choice they make when I'm not supervising them?
     
  41. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    :yeahthat:
     
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