Thursday, May 24, 2012


Welcome. To. Summer.

Farewell Parkersburg Elementary!  I love ya but I'm totally gonna leave ya.  For about 10 weeks.  

This morning, the students and staff of Parkersburg Elementary gathered around this flag pole and said The Pledge of Allegiance and then The Kid of Character Pledge. (Below)

I pledge to be a kid of character.
I will be worthy of trust.
I will be respectful and responsible, doing what I must.
I will always act with kindness, I will show that I care,
I will be a good citizen, and always do my share.

They all know it by heart-- and I think every classroom recites both pledges each day.  It's always one of my favorite moments in the school year-- it's just so picturesque and.... for lack of better words, "American".  I always get a rush of love when I hear those young voices reciting those familiar words.  And on a day like today, bright and sunny (and WINDY!), you hear those words, you look around at those faces, and you have a little hope for the future and this generation.

And then you go inside.

And (pardon my French) the $hit hits the fan.

Holy.  Freaking.  Crazy-ness.  And NOT in an old-school good way.

My plan was to meet and say goodbye to some of my frequent flyers this morning.  (I probably should have planned about 10 mornings to devote to them rather than one.) Then, I hoped to pop into each classroom and say goodbye for the summer.  However, the cherubs at school had different plans.  Without too many details and still remaining confidential I will say that I met with a good share of students today-- due to poor behavior.  On the last day of school!  Seriously!  More than a handful of office referrals?  More than a handful of recess incidents?  Kids lost recesses, priviledges, and "fun time" because they couldn't control their behavior for 5 hours!  They were mean and rude and disrespectful.  And on the last day of school-- a day reserved for total "fun-ness" where most teachers play games, clean their rooms, do little projects, watch videos, eat in their rooms, and spend extra time outside.

I was disappointed in the kids.  I'm not going to get into it now, but I have serious serious concerns about the way kids react to and deal with things today.  And I know it's "everywhere" but that doesn't really comfort me at all.  But I'm also disappointed in myself.  I don't think any of the kids who waltzed through my revolving door today were new to my office.  So what went wrong?  I ask myself, "Where did I go wrong?"  "How can we be dealing with the same issues in May that we already dealt with in September?  And November.  And March."

I know summer is tough for a LOT of kids.  It's unstructured.  It's disorganized.  It can be lonely.  It can be over-filled.  It looks so fun to parents but I know that soooo many kids struggle with summer.  I know this affects their behavior the last week of school. It causes crazy anxiety and weird acting out.  And I also know that I do not have a magic wand and cannot magically fix kids who are naughty at school and home.  But if I did have a magic wand, I would wish for kids to be able to do this one thing:  "I will be respectful and responsible, doing what I must."  That alone, would have eliminated every single behavioral issue we had today.

And with that.... I welcome summer.

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