Sugar and spice and everything nice…
Clearly, the person that wrote that rhyme was not a teacher, or even someone that came within five feet of a child. I would like to point out gently that our children are born sociopaths. I am not saying that it is a bad thing. The human race is hard-wired that way and without this we as race could not have survived. For more information on this, there is a fascinating article printed in Time Magazine last year, “The Evolution of a NarcissistJeffrey Kluger @jeffreykluger Aug. 21, 2014″. The article speaks about how we must teach empathy to children because they are not born with it.
Which comes round to my point (in a rather convoluted way). Children learn what they live. In order to teach a child you have to know that child, because you need to know why the children are manifesting their behaviors. Why is little Tommy suddenly becoming more aggressive? Do you believe it is just because he is bad or could it possibly be because the family unit has been broken up and he is mad and this is the only way he knows how tell people? Jenny is mouthing off to all the adults and stopped eating. Johnny is displaying highly sexualized behaviors. Are these kids the bad seeds? Not really, when you start to investigate the behaviors and the reasons behind them you discover that a large portion of your students are suffering from abuse at the hands of the people that should be treating them with love and respect.
Understanding my students stories informs a large part of my practice. I have learned that as a teacher, it is probably more important for me to listen than to talk. I know that to raising my voice to these students could be interpreted as a precursor to abuse because that is what they know. I do not always accomplish complete patience and love when I work with my students but I try. Kids know when you don’t like them, you know?
The more time I spend with children, the more I think our model of teaching is wrong. I do not think a teacher should have any more then ten students and six is probably the optimum number, because then the teacher could truly know the student and they could know how to teach them to the best advantage.