Monday, July 23, 2012

Why Public School's Social Skills Stink Part 4: Teachers in a broken system

I have come up with 6 reasons why public schools are one of the worst places to learn social skills. If children come out of public school with social graces, I place most of the credit on their parents, communities, and the parents of their friends.  NOT on the public school system. I will post these six reasons separately (because I'm very opinionated about this and need space to vent.)

Reason 1: You only associate with children your same age.
Reason 2: You only have friends the same gender as you.
Reason 3: You are not friends with your siblings.
Reason 4: Teachers, in a broken system, have a hard time making a positive influence socially on the children they teach.

Okay people, I want to make this perfectly clear:


This post is not meant to belittle them or what they do.

Of course, the system they have to work in, is another matter.  Teachers are given 20-30 children they most likely have never met before, are given an seemingly impossible expectation by our society of what every single child should know, and then have to say good-by to all of these children after a nine month period, many times to never interact with these children again.

This is not a good breeding ground for attachments that can impact kids socially.

First of all, WHO could be emotionally and psychologically amazing enough to INDIVIDUALLY love, empathize, know, and appreciate 20-30 kids the first day they meet them?  No one.  It takes a while for teachers to get to know their students every school year, and once they've gotten to know them, can they really influence them?

The child must be able trust, love, and know a teacher before they can really respect what that teacher has to say.  Maybe in early elementary years children are more adaptable, but after that, you get jaded kids who prefer to trust, love, and know the peers around them more then the new teacher who will leave their life in 9 months.

If the teacher says it's not cool to pick on Jane, but their peer says it is cool, you have a pretty sure bet that the kid will take the side of the peer over the teacher.

And perhaps even more to the point-Are the public school teachers even "social graces" teachers?  Besides anti-bullying, I'm not aware that social graces are on the syllabus.  They have TONS that they are required to teach, and when there is any recess, lunch, or other down time, do you blame them for going off on their own to plan or relax or go to the faculty lounge to talk with other adults? 

In other words, when youth are doing the bulk of their socializing, the teachers are not even there. 

Yes teachers can teach respect in the classroom, and good teachers try to have group interaction, but for the most part, public school children teach public school children social skills, and let's just admit it-children are very often selfish, rude, and not sure how to love unconditionally.  They need grownups that they are emotionally attached to, to show them how to be mature.  It's very hard for teachers to be those grownups.

And of course, there is a small percentage of teachers that you wouldn't WANT your child to learn social skills from.  There are rude, arrogant, agenda-filled teachers out there mixed in with the good.  

Chances are, you will never really get to know your child's teacher very closely.  Doesn't that bother mothers?  Sending your child off for most of the day, five days of the week, to someone who you don't know?  That would bug me.

As for homeschoolers, well the ratio of adult to child is, of course, a lot lower.  Closer to 1 in 5 then 1 in 25.  All the adults are there for the long haul.  They have known your kids for years, you have know their kids for years.  You are emotionally attached to the kids in your homeschool group and the kids are attached to you.  Very often, adults are there to witness fights, disputes, and/or misunderstandings and can step in to be the conflict manager.  One on one talks take place after socializing, about what went on, and how the child felt, and what appropriate responses there could be.

So, in wrap up, home schoolers are taught social skills by mature adults, while public schoolers teach themselves social skills.

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving this series of posts, Lindy! So far, I agree with just about everything you have said -- especially THIS post. There were some..."conflicts" that occurred during Mm's recesses in the short six months she was in public school and her teacher only witnessed one of the "conflicts" -- the other problems were reported by other eight year-olds. Can you really trust an 8 year-old to tell the correct events in a conflict? I don't think so. It was incredibly frustrating to discover that Mm was getting in trouble via unreliable witnesses -- only one incident being witnessed by an adult. It was rather shocking to us, really. I do respect public school teachers and now I know first-hand that they can't witness every little thing that children tattle about...No use getting worked up unless the principal calls you. :) Anyway, I agree with you -- they learn so much more about "socializing" from their peers than they possibly can from their teachers...unfortunately.