Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Justice Rendered




Teachers see it every single day and have to deal with it all the time:  the conflict between children.

This seems to always happen out on the playground, away from the teacher’s line of vision.  As the children line up to go into the classroom, angry red faces of the two students who boil in their rage stand at the end.

The teacher pulls the two aside, send the class to their desks, with directions to read from the designated text book.  Then she faces the two combatants.
Who started it?  What did you do?  Who said what?  The two children each point a finger at the other, claiming that “he’s the one—he did it!”
Then there is the evidence gathering.  Which students in the class witnessed the event?  One by one those witnesses are questioned outside, while the finger-pointers steam at their desks, out of ear shot.

Debates, questions, answers ensue.  Decision made.  Teacher directs the two less-angry students outside to deliver the verdict.

Sometimes both are guilty.  If the students are girls, this is highly probable.   

Sometimes one is the guilty party and the other the victim.  These are usually boys. 

One will shout the loudest and deny the most.  He will also accuse the other of the very things of which he himself has been accused.   I look at that person suspiciously from the get-go.

Chances are this is not his first time facing judgment. 

I sigh.  Being the judge and delivering the verdict is a great responsibility.

20 comments:

  1. Good post

    I would call it

    "For Whom the Recess Bell Tolls"

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    1. I wish I had thought of that as a title.

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  2. It is a great responsibility, but so much better than those who just turn away and hope things resolve themselves.

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    1. Problems escalate, I have found, if not dealt with immediately. In a way, it is testing the teacher to see how much will she/he tolerate.

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  3. Yeah agreed with above, better to do something about it then just turn a blind eye like so many do. And usually he or she who protests too much, is the instigator.

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  4. Nip it in the bud early and perhaps they will not devolve into bullies at a later date.

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  5. i hate to agree with you on the girl part haha:)

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    1. I know. One year, I decided I would rather have a classroom of boys than one of girls. Rough year with the girls.

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  6. Teaching is harder than we know, and in my opinion, too little valued. Will the miscreant call in parental reinforcements tomorrow? A dear friend retired years too yearly as a high school counselor. Students said they had rights too, didn't need to listen to her, would involve a parent--again. One day it got too old, and Rose retired.

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    1. I would never teach upper grades. Third grade was my favorite, altho I taught 1st through 8th. Middle and high school, never.

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  7. These situations have to be addressed... you cannot simply turn a blind eye because that doesn't help the children.
    But what is the truth in these situations? There are 3 sides to these stories - his side, her side and the truth somewhere in between!
    Good luck to the judge.

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    1. Ferreting out the truth was the goal, but sometimes was elusive!

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  8. Hi Susan,

    I would hate to make a judgement call in such a situation. Particularly if I discovered, at a later time, I got it wrong.

    You take very good care.

    Gary

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    1. That happened, but seldom. I knew my students very well within a week or two, had observed them on the playground and in the classroom.

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  9. Such a huge responsibility. Nonetheless, necessary. I suspect that if early problems are not addressed the perpetrators may move on to the sort of cyber bullying which has caused the death of more than one young person. Which makes my heart hurt. In my voluntary work I have talked to people contemplating suicide, to people in the process of completing suicide (much more rarely) and to those bereaved by suicide. And some of these calls will haunt my forever. As they should.

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    1. God bless you for the work you do. True--victims of bullies suffer throughout their lives.

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  10. It is a great responsibility; unfortunately the loudest party usually gets into the most trouble. The sneaky quiet ones are harder to catch. This brings back memories. Julie

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    1. The sneaky ones were tricky, yes. But it was interesting to figure them out, nail them, and then see how they dealt with that.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!