For 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, our children receive about 1/30th of an adult’s attention! Think about that! That’s what most kids get in a classroom every single day, when they’re at school. The class sizes are growing, the supplies used are shrinking, yet the courses are becoming much more pressing than they were when we were kids. Nowadays kids are pushed to get their college credits while they’re still in high school. Isn’t that like taking doctorate classes while you’re working on your bachelors degree? The stress can be daunting.
Then we need to consider when a child refuses to follow his class inside when recess is over. Because he misbehaves, a teacher tells him she is calling his mother to discuss whether or not he can attend the Christmas Party the following day. This little boy is in the third grade, enters the science fair every year since kindergarten, and actually is allowed in the second grade to display with the sixth graders, because his experiment is so captivating and well-put together. This year, in third grade, he is a district nominee for the “Reflections” contest on a video he wrote, filmed, edited, and produced. Obviously, this is not a child who should label himself a “bad seed” because of one act of disobedience in overstaying his recess.
This teacher doesn’t call his mother right way, instead she converses with another teacher, and decides to let him believe that his mother chose for him to miss the party. (Incidentally, the teacher acting as “the confidant” tells his teacher that when she had motioned him in, he had ignored her.) By his teacher’s words, she suggests he attend school the day of the Christmas party and either report to the office at the time of the party, or go home early, refusing to listen to him state he never saw the other teacher.
Meanwhile, the same third-grade boy is given a part in the school play, and he is excited as he brings home the role to practice of “Sooty, the chimney sweep.” He practices and practices until he knows the part so well, he is practicing with different tones and pitches, ensuring himself to get it perfect. Two days before the program, he comes home depressed because the teacher tells him he will not be speaking that part after all, “the confidant” wants her student to have that part. The boy’s mother records the program, and other mothers are relieved because some cannot see the program and are welcoming the invitation. The mother notifies the teacher so the other parents will know it’s available, but the principal steps forward and asks her to remove it from YouTube. He laughs and states he appreciates the effort, however no forms have been signed by parents giving approval, and that if a news team from television wants to film, even they require an affidavit. (According to YouTube and the state’s Department of Public Safety, entries which are not copyrighted are okay, but the television news is copyrighted.)
The third-grader is depressed, but participates anyway, despite the fact that several of his classmates ask him why he no longer has the previously arranged speaking part. His mood becomes more and more melancholy, over the next few days until he begins being rude and belligerant at home, which is unusual. He complains his friends will no longer play with him and his teacher will not call on him when he raises his hand. His mother is confused and attempts to speak to the school counselor. After leaving messages for a week, she finally is able to speak to her, but the counselor suggests that even though the third-grader is talking about killing himself, his mother should wait until January, when the real counselor returns from his family emergency. Frantically, the mother states, “I can’t wait that long. I’m afraid he might do something to himself.” The substitute counselor gives the eager mother the district psychologist’s phone number and suggests she call over there.
The mother calls for three days and leaves three messages. A week and a half later, her son is still alive, and one of the counselors calls to clarify what is happening. She agrees that the situation is serious because there is no change in her son, and tells the mother that the head psychologist will insist on taking care of this himself. She says he will either call tonight or the next day. The call never comes. The assistant principal calls the district psychologist and leaves two messages on his phone, yet still no calls are returned.
The third-grader doesn’t feel like attending school the day of his class’s Christmas Party, his stomach hurts too much, but the substitute counselor calls again, to speak with his mother. Unfortunately, she begins the conversation by stating who she is, but can’t remember ever speaking to the mother of the potentially suicidal third-grader previously. That is, until she is reminded of having told the mother about the emergency the regular counselor had. “Well, there are so many kids, it’s hard to keep track!” the counselor laughs into the phone. Apparently, there are quite a few people calling concerned that their children will commit suicide at this school.
The next time an article about childhood suicides arises, pay attention. These students are normal, high-achieving students who are being pushed under the rug. No one has time for them at school. The teachers are people and jealousy reigns in some of them, just as much as other people. And although your child’s teacher may be the “best of the best,” there may be other teachers who do not have the same intentions, who are allowed input in how your child is treated. The children are in these people’s care for thirty hours a week, sharing the time of one teacher with twenty-nine other students.
So why are elementary school students killing themselves? And more importantly, why are some of the people we pay to protect and teach our students predators themselves? Instead of assisting students who stand out from the others, the teachers are stuck to a schedule not permitting the time to help these students the way they need to be helped. Many of these students, including Einstein and Newton, brought to light that it is quite common for geniuses to be bi-polar.
The question seems to be in whether or not teachers would opt to be in this position if they do not care for children sincerely. The answer is simple: There are attorneys who do it for the money or for the love of the law, but there are some attorneys who just like to argue, so why not be paid? There are teachers who love to surround themselves with children and learn more themselves, but there are those who visualize themselves as authoritarians and this is how they demand respect and get paid for it.