Thursday, September 20, 2012

insight from the girl

My cousin's child C started kindergarten this year in North Carolina. The teacher - check this - uses a star reward system. If you don't get in trouble all day you get a green star at the end of the day. If you were put in time out once you get a yellow star, and you get a red one if you were in trouble lots. Apparently C was put in time out two days in a row for not raising her hand before talking. Not raising her hand! (So... what? The child has to endure the humiliation and punishment of time out as it's happening, and then again at the end of the day? How is that a good idea? Way for the kids to leave with a good taste in their mouths.) I was telling the au pair about this and Frances overheard us and wanted to know why the teacher would act like that. She kept thinking about it, kept asking over and over, "why would she do that?"

"It doesn't seem very kind, does it," I said.

"No," she said. "I mean, why would she do that?"

"Why do you think?"

"I don't know. I mean, why would she act like that?"

"Maybe someone told her it was a good way to teach kids how to behave."

"Maybe." Pondering. "But why was she like that?"

"Why do you think?"

She paused, and this time really thought about it. Then she said, "Oh, I understand. I know why."


"Maybe that's the way the teacher was to her when she was little."

I tell you, if she knows this already about the world, and Clark knows that you still miss the old thing even when you enjoy the new, they are both going to be waaaay ahead of the rest of us.

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