Kids Champion Each Other
You know there are always kids in a school every other child knows–you know, the leaders, the clowns, the misbehavers, the in crowd, the whatevers…but darn near every kid knows their name and recognizes them where ever they are.
And, new kids often don’t know those kids or at least, they may not know initially which are the clowns, or the misbehavers. So it’s nice when someone can give them the inside scoop.
I’m often in a unique position to talk to kids because of being a resource teacher. I sometimes am testing a kid so get some private time, and sometimes do small groups, so kids are more likely to bring things up, and I let kids have lunch in my room–which means I sometimes overhear casual conversations that allow me to get into something we teachers may not otherwise know about.
But one of the funniest times I championed a kid was when one of our kids tried to pull a prank on the new kid. The new kid was in my room, and left to go to the bathroom, fairly close to my room. He came back a few minutes later, with a somewhat uneasy look on his face , saying “John was hiding behind the bathroom door when I went in.” I said “What?” and he repeated what he said. I couldn’t help it–I was absolutely fighting to hide my chuckling. I then asked, ‘You mean John was hiding behind the door to scare the next kid who came in?” New Kid: “I guess so.” I burst out laughing at that point, and said something to the effect of “Oh, my gosh, I wonder how long he was in the bathroom waiting for someone.” At that point, the new kid laughed (as did other kids who were listening) and we all began wondering how long one would have to stand in the bathroom before someone else came in. The new kid’s fear was diffused, he recognized that the “hider” had no ill intent other than to be funny, and it became no big deal.
In fact, a week or so later, the new kid was in my room, and the hider walked in to say something to me. (He was avoiding going to where he was supposed to be, so I reminded him he needed to be in Science.) As he left, the new kid laughingly said, “And, don’t go hiding in the bathroom, either!” The “hider” turned around, made eye contact with the new kid, smiled, and immediately headed to the bathroom. We all laughed.
Within a few minutes, the new kid asked if he could go to the bathroom. I asked what he had planned and he said he was going to let the other one scare him so he wouldn’t have to hide in the bathroom long. I knew then that I didn’t need to champion the “hider” anymore with the new kid–he had the “hider” figured out–and was trying to help him!
Ya gotta love how kids figure out how to support and champion each other. And, yeah, I know this isn;t an academic thing, but the social often outweighs the learning if it’s not good.