Friday, February 22, 2013

Outsmarting the Glove Nazi: Tales from a Lunch Supervisor

Another area that greatly bothers the Glove Nazi is putting outdoor clothing away. 

When the kids come in from recess they have to put their boots on the boot rack and their clothes in their cubby. Of course, these are six and seven year olds, so they often forget and leave their stuff on the floor.

In this area the Glove Nazi agrees with me. She is tired of constantly telling the kids to pick up this and put away that, so now she just puts everything that is not in its proper place into the the lost and found. The kids learn their lesson the next time they have recess, when they come to her and say "I can't find my _____". "Did you put it away properly? Maybe it was on the floor and someone put it in the lost and found." Which, of course, it is because she put it there. I am pretty sure she knows all the kids and which clothes are theirs, but she teaches them a lesson and most of them learn.

Except for those that learn how to outsmart that lesson.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Glove Nazi: Tales from a Lunch Supervisor

There are a regular stable of people who act as lunch supervisors at J's school. Sometimes I am not good with names, especially in this situation, where all of the names I have to remember are people who are very similar in appearance and lack easily distinguishing features. It's easy for them to remember my name, I am the only guy. Much harder for me as they are all white females and mothers in their 30's neither fat nor skinny and within the average of attractiveness.

A good way to remember people is by giving them names that match some prominent feature, such as big nose, funny face, etc. If a group lacks large differences in physical characteristics, I usually head towards personality, hence: The Glove Nazi.

The Glove Nazi is an older woman, so I probably could come up with a name based on her appearance, as she is not the typical in her 30's mother, but the name just fits her so well I have to use it. 

The Glove Nazi is all about making sure the kids follow the rules. She spends most of her time telling the kids to go back on put on their hat or coat. But her biggest "thing" is gloves. I think she knows she has a bit of a thing about gloves as she was quick to explain to me on the first day that she had seen some bad frostbite cases and so was particular about gloves. 

While I agree that the kids should be wearing the proper winter clothes, she is very authoritarian about it. Sometimes kids learn best by having direct contact with the results of their choices. If little Johnny doesn't wear his gloves and his hands start to hurt, that pain will focus his attention and maybe next time he will remember to wear his gloves. My approach is to gently question them "Aren't you cold?" when they answer no, I look at them skeptically and "Ok, but I sure would be cold if I didn't have my ____ on?" It's probably less effective and I have yet to see a kid go running back to school to get whatever item they are not wearing, but perhaps I have made some small step towards having them become more responsible for themselves.  

Of course, I don't want some six year old to lose a finger just to learn a simple lesson, but is that really a risk? They don't let the kids go out if it is less that -15 degrees C and lunch is only twenty-four minutes, not enough to get frostbite.

At some point they have to learn to take some responsibility for themselves. I think it is better to guide rather than order them. Plus, I would go insane spending all that time saying things like "Sally, go get your gloves", "Fred go put on your hat", "Where are your pants", etc. I would never survive as an elementary school teacher. 

The one good thing about the Glove Nazi is that she does the job I don't want to do. 

And she gives me something to write about.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day - "I Wish You Were Dead"

Yesterday my six year old daughter said to me "I wish you were dead". When I recovered from my surprise, I asked her why she wished I was dead. Her reply: "Then Mommy wouldn't get mad at you all the time."

Kids often will say something like "I hate you" or "I wish you would die" when they are young because they lack the words to express their frustration when you say they can't do or have something that they want. The other times when K has said something like that it did not bother me, as I knew she was just unable to express her anger with me. This was different. I was shocked and hurt because there was nothing like that going on this time. I had not denied her anything just before to bring this on.

But the last part of this story shocked me the most. I looked over at the Wife and she was smiling, almost laughing at this turn of events.

And then it dawned on me what was going on.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

US/Canadian Murder Rate Comparison

As I have mentioned before, gun control and the US Second Ammendment is one of my areas of interests.

This post from PJ Media has an interesting comparison between US and Canadian murder rates from states/provinces that border each other. 

While this is an interesting comparison, I don't think the relationship of less restrictive gun control = less crime is proven in this comparison. Florida has liberal carry laws, but I suspect its murder rate is higher than most Canadian provinces. 

I think that popluation density, rural vs urban living may have more of an effect on murder rates than gun control.

This is not to say that gun control does not have an effect. Most location experience a drop in their violent crime rate when it is easier for law abiding citizens to get a gun.

Friday, February 08, 2013

No One Likes a Rat: Tales from a Lunch Supervisor

Tattle telling is staple of elementary school life. Yesterday was particularly bad, as it seems a higher number of "clients" in the "yard" were trying to ingratiate themselves with authority, or settle scores using the boss.

Most problems I have to deal with as a lunch supervisor have me torn two ways and tattle telling is a great example. You need the kids to come and tell you about their problems with other kids because they lack all the skills to deal with each other. We want to help them with that, or all problems will end up being fights. So you can't just dismiss their concerns. Yet they need to learn some independence and problem solving skills, or they will be a nightmare when they become adults, so you can't treat everything as a serious problem and solve it for them. Somehow they have to understand that that particular problem is not that serious and they should deal with it but that one is serious and they should talk to an adult.

Also, I hate tattle telling. My default would be to tell them to sort it out themselves, as most of their problems tend to be of the "Tommy won't stop looking at me" variety.So I have to watch this tendency, otherwise they will learn not to tell about anything.

Yesterday I had to deal with two of these not important incidents. Two girls come up to me with a complaint: