Friday, April 5, 2013

How are we treating kids?

How are we treating kids? It is a question we need to ask ourselves from time to time to make sure our answer is what it should be: with care, respect, and compassion. In the video, Rutgers coach Mike Rice, who has since been fired, shows us how NOT to treat kids. Though this is an extreme case, is it that rare? Though we may not chuck basketballs at kids' heads or yell the F word at them, kids can be just as hurt with the way they are treated and talked to. In a position like ours, as teachers, we are around kids constantly. Everyone is human and it is only natural to get frustrated at times. How do we deal with our frustration? Do we take it out on the kid? Do we respond with sarcasm? Do we belittle kids? Talk down to them? Act superior to them? We can hurt a kid just as bad as Mike Rice did without ever throwing one basketball or yelling one curse word. Sometimes we can get so frustrated with a kid but we need to make sure we check ourselves before saying something that will hurt the situation, not help it. We need to remember that kids have home lives and some are really bad. We need to be conscious of their feelings and make sure they feel better after talking to us, not worse. Even in cases where you're just sick of the bad attitude or the lack of effort, sarcasm in a volatile situation is still not the answer. I'm not saying you can't get after a kid sometimes and get firm with them because there is a time and place for that and some kids need that. Still, that firmness and "tough love" can come without sarcasm. I watched the video and was appalled at what I saw this guy doing. Though I have never even come close to doing something like that, it still made me reflect on how I treat kids. It reminded me of the position we are in and the awesome power we have to make kids feel better about themselves and build them up. So, the next time you are about to throw an imaginary basketball at a kids head and rip them with sarcasm, stop and instead throw some words of encouragement and compassion. 

(Note: Mike Rice got fired, as did his assistant coach and the AD of Rutgers University)


Abby said...

Awesome post, Dan. As you know, I completely agree with you that we have the power to break down or build up. Our goal as teachers should always be to build kids up. If that isn't your goal, then get out of teaching! Redirection and concequences for doing wrong can always and should always be done without sarcasm, name calling, or belittling. Maya Angelou said, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Let's learn from and live by this message. Thanks for sharing this important post, Dan!

Mrs. Waterbury said...

This was an eye-opener for me, Dan. I, too, was shocked at the way the coach talked to his players. I think it should be the goal for every teacher to be a positive influence on their students. Abby, you are right, there is no room for sarcasm, belitting or name calling when you deal with kids. I have been amazed at the things you find to share with us on TechnoEd, Dan. Keep up the good work. I really enjoy your posts.