Listen, My Children, and You Shall Hear…

…hey, I said listen…listen to me! (With apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).

And then, the screaming starts.

There are some memes out there today that propose that yelling is the new spanking, and one that states, “Don’t yell at your kids, whisper.  It’s much scarier.”

In public school classrooms today, it’s not necessarily the pedagogy that’s at fault.  It could be that:

  • There are too many children in the classroom who don’t understand the concept of “focus,” and ruin the educational environment for the rest of the children in the classroom who do;
  • There are undiagnosed behavioral issues in younger children which parents refuse to address;
  • The structure of the school day doesn’t allow enough time for students to burn off the energy from having breakfast at school;

And I’m sure you can list a myriad of other underlying causes.  Give some students a standardized test with circles all over the page so they can record their answers, and a pencil to complete the exam (notice I just said “give them a pencil” – back in the day, students were expected to “bring” two pencils with them in case one broke.  It taught the concept of preparedness), and they’ll make patterns.

The real problem?  Parenting.  At first, one could think that there are parents who don’t realize they are the first educators of their children, and abdicate their responsibility to the public school system, enjoying the fact that once their kids are in school, it gives them a break from their responsibilities. But after further reflection, there are also parents who have instilled discipline in their children, assigning them responsibilities, and modeling how to act appropriately in civilized society.  Further, there are also those parents who want to be involved in the education of their children, giving the teacher ideas regarding lesson planning, as well as, on the other hand, those who tell the teacher how their child should be treated because they are an individual, and, therefore, should have the right to choose whether or not to follow the teacher’s instructions.

Add to this the change in potential environments – moving from one school to another based on grade levels, classmates being changed from year to year due to provide new socialized experiences, and the change of teachers when students have become accustomed to the mannerisms and methodologies of the previous teacher, and the opportunities for resistance increase.

Therefore, it’s not necessarily what type of parenting happens at home – it’s that there is no consistency in parenting styles and less consistency in the potential learning environments in today’s public schools.  One never knows who the new kid will be, or when one’s best friend moves to a new city.

Put 30 of those individuals in a room, and, if you’re like some teachers, have the potential of having 8 different groups of children every day, that means interacting with 240 different little people every day.  They push one another; they punch one another; they pull one another’s hair; they…you get the picture.  Now let’s throw in parents who don’t want to have their kids wear masks in school, and shout about it at the school board meetings.  It’s no wonder why teachers are saying, “I don’t need this,” or “This is NOT what I signed up for,” and just quit without having another job to go to, try to start a home based business, or try to find work in a completely different field.

This article’s featured image show’s Branford Marsalis’ quotation regarding American music is telling because he didn’t say that “kids don’t listen to music.”  He said, “kids don’t listen.”  That’s because they’re not taught how to listen.  Listening requires focus.  Listening is active participation in the communication process, and requires feedback to demonstrate understanding.  Even as adults, we may hear, but have we really listened?

And if we as adults simply want to be heard rather than listen, and then act out when we don’t get our way, then what kind of behavior are we modeling for our children?