Tuesday, February 5, 2008

its been a while...

...I know but I've been busy...choclahontas had a horrible allergic reaction to Ackee and saltfish which resulted in her being in the hospital for a few days...I joked and told her she just wanted a vacation...so she's been at my house for the last few days...I love her dearly, but she really needs to get her own apartment...
Moodmagicbarb has been pretty stable and I actually am doing ok...

I started teaching last night and half my class from last semester is taking my other class this semester...out of 18 students only 6 are new...they said I'm an easy grade but the joke is that every student makes their own grade by the amount of effort they put into the class...I make them think...I challenge all their beliefs and the beliefs that have been handed down for generations...
The class I'm talking about today is child care and advocacy...this class deals with child abuse and family violence...the majority of my class comes from the old school where they believe that they were beat and turned out ok...I challenge that...

one student (the only man in my class) told a story about his then six year old son...he was in a shoe store and was buying shoes for his younger daughter...his son kept asking him why wasn't he buying shoes for him...the student said he was "embarrassed" because his son kept asking him the question over and over and the student hauled off and hit the child in the face...he went on to say that he asked his son years later if he remembered that as the student felt bad about the incident...the son replied "I do remember" the student asked why did he get hit and the son said "because I was bad"...ooh, my hackles went up...I let the class respond with their views (most agreed with the student and said children are out of control and bad)...I gave my disclaimer *I will challenge you...don't take it personally and it's ok if you challenge me...we don't have to agree, but I will show you the other side...everything that's said here stays here* and I lit into him with six feet...I showed the class that his hitting his son was his anger at the child for challenging him in public, his frustration at not being able to buy them both shoes that day(he started by saying he didn't have a job at the time)...I showed the class that if the child were an adult, he would have given an explanation and not hit him because the adult would have hit him back...I talked with the class about the fact that parents hit out of their own frustration at not being able to "make" a child do what the parents want, at not being able to "control" the child, and not being able to verbalize the parents own feelings...I said the child deserved an explanation (I admit to being totally child centered)...

It is my opinion that 95% of a child's problem is their parent, not factoring in biological and neurological issues...children are essentially a blank slate and parents put the first and lasting marks...good or bad...there is no such thing as a perfect parent and we all make mistakes, but its to acknowledge the mistakes and be able to show your child that it's ok to make a mistake and to apologize...one of my mantras is that its not the mistake that's important but what you do with it and how you come out of it that counts...

the class sat and look at me silently with open mouths...I checked in to make sure they were still breathing...they said they were fine, but I gave them a lot to think about on the first day...I replied that's good...that's learning...I told them think about our discussion and come back next week with questions...I thanked the student for being brave enough to take the barrage and assured him it was not personal...ummm lets see if he comes back next week...

My students know I love them, and I want the best for them...but they pay a lot of money to sit in those seats and I'm not going to sugarcoat and spoon feed them...

5 comments:

Fat Lady said...

Good for you for challenging them!!! Attitudes about hitting kids need to be challenged.

My parents did not hit me and in turn I do not hit my children. I have learned to accept that others feel that spanking is a necessary form of discipline - but I honestly don't see the logic behind it.

In the case of your student and his son - what strikes me the most about that story is the message that the son go. Because when his father asked him what he remembered - the kid said "I was bad." So, he didn't learn that it's inappropriate to question his parents, or that there are somethings that can be discussed at home but not in public. All he learned is that he's bad.

Kids internalize that kind of crap. So when that kids lacks self-esteem and begins really acting out, then what? More hitting, probably. It becomes a bad cycle.

These students are lucky to have you there challenging their thinking. Making them really consider what they're doing.

Regina said...

You are definitely MY kind of teacher! I hope that student DOES come back - and realizes how much he can learn from you!

The Bear Maiden said...

I've been meaning to comment on this but narcissistic tendencies being what they are I hadn't gotten to it.

Since your student came back, tell him for me that I've come to the conclusion that good parents question themselves... they have guilt. The fact that the man not only remembered but harbored guilt over that incident with his boy means that he's a good parent. The fact that he was brave enough to ask his kid about it...years later, and then bring it up in class meant he'd been thinking about it. And that's wonderful. It's hopeful. Because you're right--no parent is perfect. On my mom's list we have all posted about "bad mommy" moments when we've done something we feel terribly guilty about.

But bad parents don't ever question themselves. Look at our favorite bad parent, Britney Spears. I often wonder... what the hell is she thinking? Does she ever stop to wonder what she's doing to her kids? Apparently not.

As for spanking... I freely admit that I'm not a parent that finds fault in the occasional swat... but I will tell you (as you know) that it takes A LOT for me to hit the Sun. A lot. In fact, it's extremely rare although I threaten him regularly :)

Usually I just threaten him with his Senseis. :) And he knows that they of all people would never hit him, and I think the thought of them being disappointed or shocked at his behavior is enough to reign him in.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

ps: i blog rolled u if u dont mind, and again, thanks 4 the advice, and a professor of what, im an associate professor at the morehouse school of med, behavioral epidemiology, only been there 2 yrs, was an assist prof at emory univ for 14 yrs beforwe that

professor said...

that's fine all-mi-t, whatever that means...
I'm an adjunct professor at a relatively well known Jewish college in NY where I teach clinical classes...
I am a clinical therapist/school social worker in a therapeutic nursery school...I do play therapy with the babies from 3 to 5...