Ten Year Olds Inside

The other day, there was a situation. After lunch as the three teachers walked back to our classrooms, we noticed that one of our students sat in the hall. The hall monitor came up to Mrs. A and told her that the student poured his milk on another student in the cafeteria. Mrs. B went to her door. Since the student was sitting right next to my door, I looked at him and said, “Did you do that on purpose?” He nodded.

After the hall monitor finished talking with Mrs. A, he went over to talk with Mrs. B about her classroom’s behavior during inside recess. Mrs. A turned to me. This is her first year teaching 5th grade. She taught many years in the middle school and was moved to 5th grade this year. “This is a pretty big deal,” she said. “He needs an office referral, right?” I nodded. “Do I write that up or does the hall monitor?”

I explained to her the she could or she could let him do it. She left and went into her room to get the paper. I continued to stand next to my door. This is the time during the day when we usually change classes. To lessen this child’s embarrassment, I didn’t want students in the hallway. Mrs. B continued to stand next to her doorway also, waiting for the event to finish. Mrs. A reappeared, spoke with the hall monitor, spoke with the student, filled out the necessary paperwork, and sent the student back to class. We then proceeded to line our classes up, switch classes and go on with our days.

As I reflected back on this incident, I thought about how the student must have felt with four adults looming over or around him. That must have felt extremely intimidating.This has been something that has been drilled into our heads, as teachers. If you’re going to speak to a child about his behavior, do it privately. Have another teacher there but don’t embarrass him. But is it really less embarrassing to have two grown ups there than his peers?

I thought about that yesterday as my own supervisor said something to me about something she would like me to improve. I wasn’t even disciplined. But I felt myself return to my 10 year old Jules. I can’t imagine having four teachers staring down at me while one of them said it.

Evidently, we’re all just ten year olds inside. Lessen learned.