Halloween, parents, school, and report cards seen by 6 to 8 graders
Once in a while I help out at a local German school. I sub various classes as needed. It is a fabulous way to give back and at the same time it is fascinating to listen to what the younger children have got to say about their school and social life. Recently I subbed for a level in which 6 through 8 graders are learning German. I asked them about a few topics and please find the rather interesting results.
First I asked them about their Halloween experience and what costumes they might have worn. 3 out of 10 did not even go. The others did go and some of them were excited talking about their costumes. 2 however did not have costumes – they went as “themselves”. Fascinating, huh? Why didn’t I go as myself? I should have thought of that.
Then I proceeded asking them about what they get for good grades on their report cards in school (report cards in general). I received a storm of interesting answers. Quite a few said that they get to go to a restaurant and they get rewarded with great food. Only very few get a monetary reward when they get good grades. At least 4 said that they receive nothing: “A’s are expected and I get nothing but a nudge to do better when I a A- or a B”.Hmm. Are we a little tough on them?
Finally, observing their interpersonal behavior and technology use. I was really positively surprised to see that they treated each other with a lot of respect. By a vast majority, the girls were so much more into learning and paying attention. Interesting, huh? I did not realize this would be the case, but I have observed this pattern in other classes. Out of the bunch of 10 children, 4 had their smart phone in class and they were using them as much as they could. I guess they were counting on the fact that I would not notice that. Once I gave them the option of either keeping but not using them, or dropping them off up front until class was over. They chose to not use them for the rest of class. Once we took a small break about half of them looked at and played with stuff on their phones. The others took the time and got really creative drawing on the white boards in the class room. On one hand I was glad that there was not the physical horsing around that used to ensue when I was young. On the other hand, it was a little sad to see that our fascination with technology seems turning the young folks into screen time addicts.
Take away from this was that times are changing as we speak. Parents become more demanding and have the highest expectations. School and the pressure succeeding seems to increase with every year that goes by. More and more technology is invading our lives. Nothing we used to do as kids is being done this way anymore. It was heartbreaking to hear most of the kids speak about their parents as being very demanding and yet not being approachable. They seemed to be missing the personal closeness.
That is where we can make the biggest difference as parents. Making sure that we show that we love them There is no right or wrong. Perhaps there is just a better and best practice. Technology does not need to be seen as a foe either. What is needed is for parents to actively think about what they want for their kids to experience. If we want for them to do better, we need to do better.