This has been one messed up week as far as jaw-dropping moments at school. Honestly, I don’t know where to start. So I’ll go in sequential order.
I’ve been playing Boomwhackers with the kids, a combination synthesis lesson (putting together everything they’ve learned) and a fun lesson. Boomwhackers are pitched percussion instruments played by, well, whacking them. I write out the music, color coded, and the kids play when their color of note comes up.
Last week one of the fifth graders decided to act like the Boomwhacker he was assigned was part of his anatomy (predictable). When that didn’t get a reaction, he acted like it was a bong (WAY not predictable.) When I told people, they said maybe he’s seen it in movies. I can only hope so, but….
Tuesday, my little, sweet kindergarten class came in. (Okay, I’m joking. They’re little, but not so sweet. Pretty terrible, actually.) Some of them sat boy-girl-boy-girl (not unusual). Then the boys put their arms across the backs of the girls chairs and the girls leaned into the boys’ sides! One of the boys stroked the girl’s cheek! I finally picked up my jaw enough to ask what was going on, and the other kids said, “They LIKE each other.” Well, that was enough for one boy to move away, but what the living hell? When I told the counselor about it, she said another teacher had said the girls in that class were calling one of the boys sexy and “MANCANDY!” WHAT. THE. LIVING. HELL? Kindergarten!!!
That same day, when the fourth graders came in, I told them to zip it, and one of the boys made an obscene gesture with his tongue in his cheek (literally). I couldn’t believe it, but then he did it again. I walked into the teacher’s room next door and said it was time for me to retire.
HOW do these kids know this stuff? Okay, maybe they learn it from other kids at school but where do THOSE kids learn it? One kid (not one mentioned above) admitted he snuck his mom’s iPad so he could watch Game of Thrones and True Blood. Other kids go to R-rated movies with their parents, either because their parents don’t tell them no, or the parents can’t find a sitter.
But my biggest concern is, what if they’re NOT learning it from the movies? What if this is what they’re learning at home? We talk about teaching changing from years past–but the most rapid change I’ve seen has been in the past five years. So many of the children are treated as little adults that they don’t know how to be children. They listen to grown up music and wear shirts (made for kids) that say “I’m Sexy and I Know It” and “LMFAO” (I know the last one is a band, but COME ON.) The fifth grade girls have to be repeatedly told not to let their bra straps show, and one got a fake tattoo tramp stamp and tied up the back of her shirt so everyone could see it.
I’m just sad and stunned and hoping I can retire by the time that kindergarten class gets to 5th grade.