Thursday, December 19, 2013

"I Like To Think Of It By Myself"


































Yesterday, there were several three-year-olds at the snack table, including some girls costumed in our fancy dress up clothes, a couple with baby dolls on their arms. Normally, we have a policy of not bringing toys to the table, but it's not strictly enforced. Clara handed me her doll, the baby she had been breast feeding all morning, and asked me to be the babysitter while she ate. Naturally, I agreed, asking, "Is this a girl baby or a boy baby?"

There was moment of what I took for confused silence before Cecelia laughed, "Teacher Tom, it's a girl baby because it's wearing a dress."

Callie replied earnestly, "Boys can wear dresses."

There was then a short, general discussion around the table on the important topic of boys and dresses.

At some point I said, "I'm a boy and I've worn dresses before."

"Teacher Tom, you can't wear a dress!"

I answered, honestly, "Oh, I really don't like when people tell me what I can and can't do."

Yuri, who had stayed out of the conversation up to this point, replied, "I don't like when my mom and dad tell me what to do . . . I like to think of it by myself, then do it."


And Yuri answered, "Right."



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6 comments:

Katie said...

I love this! So true! I have always told the children I have worked with (I am a pediatric speech pathologist but have worked in preschools and day cares prior) that THEY are the boss of THEMSELVES. This always perplexes them at first, and starts a GREAT conversation. Thanks again for an awesome post, as usual!

Katie said...

I love this! So true! I have always told the children I have worked with (I am a pediatric speech pathologist but have worked in preschools and day cares prior) that THEY are the boss of THEMSELVES. This always perplexes them at first, and starts a GREAT conversation. Thanks again for an awesome post, as usual!

John S Green said...

Thanks for sharing your classroom conversations. You could make a movie!

Anonymous said...

I respect a lot of your ideas, but this is one with which I must disagree. It seems that you are teaching that you do not have to be obedient to authority, and that nobody should tell you what you can do. Everyone will have a 'BOSS' to whom they will be accountable. If you tell the parents of your preschoolers that they cannot tell you what to do, you could be out of a job. Preschoolers need for us to teach them social skills, showing them the boundaries that will be enforced by society, and used in personal relationships.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,

this conversation reminded me of one of the phrases we use at our school here in South Australia where we employ a program called 'Play is the Way' (Look it up - excellent!) One of things we say to kids (I have 11 year olds) is that we assume that they can be the boss of themselves. When and if they are behaving in an inappropriate manner (our school is low socio-economic/tough) we ask the question, "Do I need to take over being the boss of you, or can you be the boss of yourself". It is a powerful question and often brings an instant change in behaviour without the actual behaviour even needing to be discussed.
Pam

Teacher Tom said...

@Anonymous . . . That is EXACTLY what I'm teaching children. Obedient children grown up to be obedient adults. Obedient people are a danger to themselves and everyone around them, especially in a democracy when it is essential that we think for ourselves. I have written extensively about this. Blogger does not allow for posting links in the comments, but here are three of those posts:

http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/i-will-not-obey.html

http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-make-adults-who-will-not-be.html

http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/spoiled-brats.html

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