"A 6 year old should be able to discipline himself. He should be self-motivated. He should be able to do his work without being reminded."
(These are the words my son's teacher said to me this morning when I went to his class to see for myself why he hasn't been able to get his work done in class. )
I'm sorry, but if any of you have had a 6 year old, you probably laughed at that statement. I mean, Really!!! I would be very worried if I had a child that WAS self motivated, and didn't have to be reminded to do things! Yes, it would be heaven, but part of our punishment on this earth for having tormented our parents is that we have children just like us, who have to be constantly reminded to do things- it's the part of the "trial" phase of this earth life that is supposed to "afflict and torment" us! So, when my child's 1st grade teacher tells me that she expects all her children to manage their own time and be self-motivated, I have to wonder, what planet did you get your degree on?!
I sat in that classroom today during what is supposed to be reading time. Every child in there was talking and laughing with eachother, their stack of books left untouched on their desks. (with the exception to the 2 or 3 who were actually reading, there's always the quiet introverted ones.) The teacher sat at her desk making phone calls, or writing, never once telling the class to be quiet. In my day.... oh, here I go, sounding old. I guess it can't be helped, to my son I AM old! Anyway, in MY day talking was NOT allowed in class! Remember how your teacher would make you all be perfectly quiet, and there'd always be that one kid who'd make a vulgar noise and the whole class would laugh, and the teacher would look up and demand to know who it was! Anyway, this teacher just expects the kids to get their work done while they talk! First Graders!!!
Now, I don't have a teaching degree, but I did go to college for 6 years. It seems to me, first grade is where the teacher actually teaches the children. (College is where they teach themselves. At least in my case!) Is it too much for me to expect that when I pay taxes for my son's education, that he might actually be educated? That includes teaching a child how to focus during class, and how to stay on task, doesn't it? According to her, school is different now then it was when I was in school. (Ya, they show DVD's in stead of videos, have computer lab where each kid gets their own computer whereas my day the whole class crammed around one brand spankin new computer and no one know how to use it, and text messaging is banned instead of passing creatively folded paper notes.) Other than that, it's pretty much the same- first graders are still 6 and 7, boys still think girls are no different, (cooties comes next year, I think), kids talk until told to be quite.... or else, and self motivation is in the far distant future!
I recall becoming somewhat self-motivated and self-disciplined somewhere during my Junior year, I think it was a monday, and I was motivated to get out of bed early for school, but that was probably because there was actually a cute boy in my first period who I wanted to sit by, now that I think about it.
So, I guess all this ranting and rambling isn't going to solve the problem- my son is not self-motivated, or self-disciplined. Yes, he is 6, but that's no excuse. I guess I'd better stop telling him to clean his room, do his homework, pick up after himself, stop teasing the dog, be nice to his friends, don't sneak toys to school in his backpack, wear his coat, don't wipe his face on his shirt, eat all his green beans, and don't wipe boogers on your bed sheets. I mean, if he doesn't do it by now, he's never going to, right? So, when should it be taught? I think those of you with 9-15 months olds, you'd better start drilling self-discipline into those babies right away, when they turn 6 it's just too late! We'll be filling out our papers for the State Penn next week. I hear they may be making breakthroughs in teaching self-discipline to people over 6, but we'll see.