My school is a believer in this “fair doesn’t mean equal” stuff. Which apparently means that we’re not allowed to shame our students. I completely disagree with this policy.
Today I caught a girl stealing from somebody’s desk. I feel like this girl is my klepto. I’m missing board erasers, markers, dice, toys, books. We were all working in our groups and out of the corner of my eye I catch her take something out of another girl’s desk.
I call her out in front of everyone immediately. I don’t let her put it away or hide it. I call across the room.
“What do you have in your hand?”
“Show me. Now.”
“I was just borrowing an eraser.”
“I’m sorry, but did you ask if you could borrow that eraser?!”
“Then what makes you think that it’s okay to take something out of somebody else’s desk?!”
“I was going to put it back.”
“I don’t ever want to see you going into another person’s things! And that goes for everybody.”
I made her cry and I don’t feel bad about it. But apparently, the “proper” way would’ve been to take her aside and talk to her, and everybody else, about behaviors privately.
I disagree. I think if it had been one of my better students that was stealing, then I would pull that student aside. But this girl is a thief and I caught her. Don’t underestimate the power of public ridicule to shape behavior.
All day the kids bitch about things not being “fair.”
“Why does she get to go to the bathroom. That’s not fair!”
“How come I’m never line leader. That’s not fair!”
“I never get called on. That’s not fair.”
“How come Tyrese gets to leave early. That’s not fair!”
Guess what, kids? Life isn’t fair.