friend or foe

Today I made a kid cry... actually, it happens almost every day.

Every child, no matter the age, gender or race needs to express himself and each child does it in his own creative way. Sometimes a certain behavior is considered bad, inappropriate or infantile, but if you stop to think why a child behaves a certain way you might find out there is a good reason for his behavior. 

I don't want to brag, but I am very good with kids, I know how to talk to them and more importantly how to listen. I've always had good connection with them, starting with babysitting when I was about 12, continue when my youngest sister was born and then with kids of family and friends. I see kids as small adults, and I talk to them as such. I believe that when you talk to a child as a friend and an equal you get to hear their true thoughts. 

Before I started working as a teacher my biggest fear was that I wouldn't be able to befriend the kids. As a teacher I have to show my authority and maintain discipline, but it contradicts the way I'm used to behave around them. I still can't say that I mastered the combination.

Today we built a game that the kids can play by dropping marbles into two cylinders and summing up all of them to work on basic math. During the assembly process one of the kids (I'll call him Dan) asked me if he would be able to get the marbles and I replied that he would get them as soon as we finish building everything. Dan was relentless in his inquiries to a point he wore me off and I told him he wouldn't get the marbles. He was offended and went to the corner to cry. When we finished building the game I gave the marbles to the two kids that helped me and went to talk to Dan. I explained to him that he was not participating and interrupting the other kids and that his involvement in the building process was important to me.

Dan understood and went to play the new game with his friends. I think it was better if instead of telling Dan he won't get any marbles, I had stopped everything and had a talk with him. Maybe that way he would have had the chance to participate in the process as well.

I'm constantly learning, the interaction with the kids teaches me there is more than one solution to a problem and the best way to find it is to talk with the kids, get to know what they think, feel and want and let them know they are heard.