Today, my eyes were opened to the true knack for manipulation that just about all of my beloved 5th graders have. I didn’t see it before but it is quite clear to me now. Whenever my students want to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, get something from a back pack, etc., they will almost always ask me and not my CT. Why is this so, you might ask?? Well it is absolutely because they know she will say no and I probably won’t!! I can’t count how many times I was asked those very questions this week and the naivety of the new young teacher in training feel for it every time!! I would think, “Oh, it has been hot, maybe she will pay attention more if she gets a drink” or “I would rather he go to the bathroom in the bathroom and not in here”. Both of those rationalizations are valid but very unlikely to happen (at least with my kids!).
So, the culminating point of these schemes was at the end of the day when I gave a student permission to get a drink of water (quickly, of course!). Well, my CT didn’t hear me tell him he could go and when she saw him in the hallway she gave him a hard time. His response was that I told him he could go and that if he wasn’t supposed to she needs to talk to me because I told him he could. My CT snapped back at him that she didn’t care what I had told him because he knows better. Drinks are only done during breaks and no other time and he was wrong for having the nerve to ask me when he knows the expectations.
I felt bad at first because I had, indeed, told him he could go but that feeling soon dissipated!! He knew exactly what he was doing, as did all of the other students who played that game with me!! It’s a lot like what kids do at home….you know, asking Mom if they can play on the computer even though they know Dad told them no because they lost that privilege for a week!! My 5th graders scored points in the game for this week, but I can guarantee you I will NOT be played for a fool next week!!!