Monday, April 4, 2011

Behaviour at school

  The basic principles I imposed to my children regarding school were:
School rules must be respected!
School work must be carried out!
   It was not always easy to follow those principles. Some rules were inadequate, some teachers did not respect the rules while dealing with children, and often, my children did not respect those rules.
   Fortunately, there were no rules that went against the children. The behavior regulations concerning teachers and children were, as always, there to provide stable working conditions and to help in achieving the best results.
   We interpreted the rules in our own way, and so did the teachers. Most of the teachers had the correct interpretation, but some of them acted inconsistently, sometimes wrongly and very harmfully for the pupils. In those cases, I would always warn the class parents about the possible consequences and propose possible solutions. About how it would turn out you read in the post titled Parental meeting also known as Dance of the Vampires.
   I would always react when my children did not comply with the rules.
   My daughter respected the school rules, in general, but she knew how to manipulate them very cleverly.
   There was a rule in her high-school that stated that if a pupil had more than 8 unexcused absences it would lower the conduct grade. Every year she was absent from exactly 8 classes. Class teacher was very angry about it and called me for an interview. Apart from talking to my daughter, there was not much I could do, because this would interfere with my educational principals. For the record, I would never justify her absences when the reasons were not really justifiable, contrary to what many parents did.
   I have a theory I would repeat often to my children:
Every man has as much liberty as he has worth, but the amount of liberty he uses equals the amount of consequences he is ready to bear. In life, there is nothing for free.
  My daughter thought that her school success gave her the right to be absent from classes when it suited her, but she was not willing to have a lower conduct grades, so she would stopped at the limit after which the consequences would follow.
  All of the rules were respected.
  On the other hand, I could write a collection of articles about my son’s behavior at school. During the classes he would be playing and laughing, between classes, he would often fight.
   The fact that he was playing during the class, did not disrupt his studying, he was able to play and listen simultaneously, but it would bother with his schoolmates. I would beg, try to persuade, explain why he should not behave like that, he would be calm for a while, but then continue as usual. I went to school willingly and by invitation, consulted educators, psychologists, teachers ...
   The general opinion was that the work in the classroom could not fully animate him, so he filled rest of the time with games. Teachers, indeed, could not do much about it. In the classroom with 30 pupils with different abilities, classes had to be adjusted for the average, for very good and very bad pupils there was not time.
   He did not talk much and was unable to verbally oppose the children’s disputes, so he faugh them. It was his way of resolving conflicts. Of course, a fight would only further complicate the situation and would involve parents and teachers. Even today I cannot understand why he was behaving like that, there was not any form of aggressiveness in our family, and the children were not physically punished, they were rarely punished in any ways.
   I would explain him that any disagreement could not be resolved by fighting, would go again to school by invitation and voluntarily, but there was no change. I really felt helpless. Then he began to practice karate fights, he had several important results in competitions, and a few bruises and scratches on his face after the fight.
   By the end of primary school he stopped fighting, but he still found it hard to tolerate insults and dirty words, that the children of that age usually say unaware of their meaning. At the second year of high school, there was a big change: he became insensitive to any insult and bad behavior against him, as if he was not concerned.
  In my experience, disciplinary penalties have poor results. It is needed the cooperation of parents and teachers, many conversations with the child, even more patience to teach the child about acceptable limits of behavior, and that their behavior should not be a threat to anyone. As you might conclude, it takes a lot of time, too.

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