Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Good Kid

Alyssa came home frustrated yesterday. Her class has been told they are not allowed to use electronic devices at recess for the rest of the week. They’re also not allowed to play at recess. They have to sit and read or, well, just sit.

She loves to read, but as she said, sometimes, she just wants to run around and not being allowed to do so is frustrating to her.

What frustrates her the most, though, is that the reason her entire class is being punished is because a few of the boys in the class misbehaved last week while there was a substitute in their class. Because of these few boys, the entire class is being punished.

“The teachers love the other class because they’re the good class,” she said sarcastically. “But we’re the loud class, the unruly class.”

The problem she has is that not all of her class is loud and unruly. A few select kids are the problem but they cause trouble for the entire class and Alyssa feels this is monumentally unfair.

Truthfully, I agree with her that it’s unfair that the entire class is being punished for the bad behavior of an unruly few but objectively, I get it. I get that the teachers might be hoping for some positive peer pressure. If the entire class is punished for the behavior of a few, maybe the rest of the class will pressure the obnoxious kids to behave better. It could happen. It probably won’t but it could.

But instead of telling her I agree with her, I instead commiserated with her, telling her about a time when my entire class was punished because of two boys in the class. I told her that it’s hard to be the good kid in a class with some less-good kids (okay, I called the boys bad. Whatever.) I reminded her that her teacher gave me a glowing report so we know that even if it is true that the teachers like the other fifth grade class better it’s not because of her.

I am not that mom who calls the school or emails her teacher to demand that my precious snowflake not be punished with the rest of her class. I sort of wish I were but I also know Alyssa would be mortified if I were.

Instead, I listen to her. I let her rant about the unfairness of being a good kid in a class with some bad kids. I let her tell me how much she dislikes some of those boys and how much she wishes the teachers would just punish the boys. Then I kiss her goodnight and tell her how proud I am of her for continuing to be good even in the face of such unfairness.

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