Teacher, I just need to miss…um…one day

Regina Bargo  Tales from the Classroom
Regina Bargo
Tales from the Classroom

We began this year with new excitement, new programs, and new goals. First, came the study from last year’s attendance. Knox County Schools

lost 300,000 instructional hours due to students lack of attendance. That’s right, our students missed that many lessons! Not only that, but our schools lost 1.3 million dollars in funding! This is a staggering amount of funds that could have provided for a world of difference for students in the classroom. However, as a kindergarten teacher, it is hard to convey these facts to four and five year olds. After my watered down speech of how important it is to come to school every day unless you are sick, a little boy eagerly raised his hand and begged, “Teacher, I just need to miss … um…one day … for my birthday… ok?”

By the middle of the first day, a little girl walked up to me and exclaimed, “You know what teacher? I’m so proud of you! You are the boss of this

school, Mommy is the boss of my house, and me and sissy is the boss of our swing set!” However, later in the day, there was a defiant student who dared me to call her father! She said, “I’m the boss at my house! He can’t do nothing to me!” I assured her that in my classroom, I was the boss! Students of all ages try to wage a power war with adults. When they win, they know it and never fail to use that power against the adults who have given in to the child’s demands. Parents DON’T EVER GIVE IN! They respect you and feel more safe when you are in charge! Don’t be shamed into thinking you can’t discipline them in public. More often than not, kids will do things in public because they know you are too embarrassed to take a stand there!

Never underestimate the fact that kids pick up on actions even when no words are spoken! A little girl sat at her desk coloring the yellow part of a traffic light and happily singing… “Catch me if you can, catch me if you can, catch me if you can!” Hmmm! I wonder who in the family is guilty?

Finally, if you want to make a difference, be strong, pay attention, enjoy, listen, direct, love, and respect these children. lways laugh with them and not at them. They are your future!