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.

There is one boy, about seven years old, let's call him F. He is usually in trouble, so much so that he was one of the first whose name I learned. Now, this is not serious trouble, just the usually stuff that boys do. Fifty years ago he would have been considered normal, but in our overly authoritarian way of raising kids, he is at the far end. 

F often forgets to place his boots in the rack and probably could not remember where he placed them and had to waste precious playing time looking for them each recess. Since he is always in a hurry to get to the next activity, his boots were often left on the floor and ended in the lost and found. F used the brain he was given and applied some reasoning power to his problem. How can I always know where my boots are and avoid the scolding of the adults when I forget to put them in the rack? The obvious answer? Just put them in the lost and found. Since the other kids know that having their stuff in the lost and found is a "bad" thing, no one else puts their stuff in and his boots are always on top, easy to find. And since they are not on the floor he avoids chastising by the adults. The only thing he has to get over is the stigma of having things in the lost and found, and that apparently was not a problem. 

Water follows the path of least resistance. Congratulations to F for finding that path.

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