Monday, July 30, 2012

Why Public School's Social Skills Stink Part 5: Monitors

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.
Reason 5: Public school monitors do not teach social skills.

In reason four, I talked about how teachers (for their own sanity/I don't blame them) are usually not present for recess, lunch, down time, or most other times that youth are doing the bulk of their socializing.

But it's not like the public school system leaves the kids totally unsupervised.  They provide "monitors."  These monitors usually must have a high school diploma and a background check, and any experience working with school age children will give them preference, but is not necessary.  They usually don't receive much training on how help children have better social skills.

My best friend was a monitor for awhile, and I know she actually played with the kids and tried to get to know as many children as possible, and really got involved, but this is not in the job description, and of course, Jr High and High school monitors don't usually interact much with the kids.

But let's face it.  Even if school monitors had doctorates in child psychology, the system is still against them.  The child/adult ration is much worse for monitors then it is for teachers.  It is closer to 1 in 50 and higher instead of the 1 in 20-30 that teachers deal with.  Also, those 50 children aren't specifically assigned to the monitor.  You could have 250 children with 5 monitors with the understanding that the five adults are collectively responsible for all 250 children.

Also, I am unaware of any school that really makes an effort for the children/youth to really get to know the monitors.  It's up to the personality of the monitors and students to get to know each other.

Basically, monitors are there to take care of emergencies.  Broken bones, bleeding, throwing up etc will first be reported by monitors to the proper sources.  Physical fights, obvious bullying, etc are expected to be handled by this handful of adults.

In recent events, it's obvious that even this job description is much harder then it may appear.  I think most of us know of the infamous youtube video of the school bus monitor being cruelly bullied by the students!  I do not envy monitors.

Most likely, monitors don't know your child's name. They might not even recognize your child's face. They usually are not the adult your child would confide in or talk to about what is going on socially in school, and the monitor is most likely not going to inquire of your child about his/her social interactions or try to interfere with what happens between your children and their peers unless there is some kind of physical altercation or something quite drastic. 

And so, Reason 5 backs up reason 4's conclusion:  Public schoolers teach themselves social skills, instead of being taught social skills by mature adults.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely true about recess yard monitors. I know first-hand (well, through my daughter) that their hands are tied when it comes to recess problems. Ridiculous, but understandable. Sort of. I used to love recess, but I am so happy I won't be sending my daughter back to that social hazard!