Two weeks ago I began my latest long-term teaching assignment; back in grade one at the same school I've been very steadily working in since Spring of 2009. My new class has some characters in it -- though I'm starting to realize I might need to start thinking about what I consider a "good class" and a "crazy class", or else I might burn out in this job thinking I always have a "crazy class". (I was SUPER SPOILED by my first group of grade ones, last spring. They were FREAKS in how well-behaved they were, and in how well they got along. It was SO EASY with them, and my next two grade one groups have been HELLIONS in comparison!) (See? I need to re-think it. I need to NOT think of my kids as HELLIONS, and I need to instead change my teaching style to reflect some of their needs; I shouldn't be expecting them to conform just because I was spoiled before)(Though they are supremely exhausting and lots of other teachers have commented that this seems to be quite the year for grade ones being trouble).
I do still find this new class somewhat exhausting, especially when they do what they did today.
I had a supply teacher all day, because we had in-school professional development (read: a looooong meeting in the library, reviewing some things we already know a lot about -- though, I will admit, I enjoyed today's session more than I have when we've done some of these meetings before).
When I popped down to my classroom at lunch time, the supply let me know that there was a pretty major incident involving money.
My students are SIX. My students seem to CONSISTENTLY HAVE ISSUES RELATING TO MONEY.
A bit of background knowledge: today is Wednesday. Every Wednesday is pizza lunch day at our school. Our school council raises a bajillion dollars through this pizza lunch program -- which also involves the selling of some candies (though, DON'T WORRY, they say Real Fruit on them! *headdesk*) and iced tea and other things like this. After the recess bells rings, kids can line up to buy the additional treats following their regular pizza order (which comes with a juicebox and a bag of chips already).
Next year, THANKFULLY, they cannot run this program the current way because of a new Healthy Schools iniative that every school in our Board has to follow, which will limit the number of special lunch food days (such as pizza day) each month; and will be VERY STRICT on what schools are allowed to sell to students.
For now, the "Real Fruit!" candies and such remain. And they are a PAIN IN THE ASS. I don't personally believe that grade ones should be bringing money to school anyway, I don't think they understand how to be responsible with it yet. I don't even like when the school holds its Book Fair and grade one students are "shopping" for books by themselves. Personally, I take my class once to browse and write down books they like and then tell their parents that THEY have to come to purchase the books.
I would NEVER allow a 6-year-old to be that responsible for shopping for themselves, even a mature one; and I'm not going to take on the whole responsibility myself for 21 eager shoppers. Their parents need to come make those decisions, and teach their children the value of money.
At our school, however, it appears that parents DO NOT CARE to teach their children the value of money. Last week, one of my students had an entire cannister of money with him -- which had inside it a $50 bill among other coins. HE TOOK IT OUT FOR RECESS, and fortunately a lunch assistant saw it and made him put it in his backpack!
The incident this week, as I've come to understand it based on what my supply teacher told me, was that one of my students had $16 (!!!) in his backpack (okay, it's not $50, but C'MON! Still a lot for a six-year-old!), and "more than one" classmate STOLE money from him. Apparently only one student owned up to the act, but it was more than one involved.
Last week, they were asking each other for money so they could buy candy. I was infuriated, so I gave them The Lecture Of Their Lives about how that money is MOMMY and DADDY's money, and it is NOT up to GRADE ONE STUDENTS to share that money with OTHER GRADE ONE STUDENTS. It is NOT safe to buy food for a classmate, when a six-year-old doesn't always know what a classmates ALLERGIES are. We had a HUGE discussion over money just last week, and I made them repeat after me and tell me ALL ABOUT WHY it isn't okay play with money or be inappropriate about it.
Then today happened!
I'm so frustrated by this. I've taken the issue straight to my principal, because I want this NIPPED IN THE BUD! I am not dealing with money issues for the rest of the school year, and according to some other teachers this class has had money issues for quite some time. One of my kids was apparently caught trying to purchase the tickets kids get at the end of the day for good behaviour (that they can save up for a prize later on) off of other kids in the class! (This was the same boy who had $16 in his bag today).
These kids are SIX. I do not agree with them having large amounts of money in their backpacks, and I do not agree with them having the power over that money yet. They are too little to understand, and they are incredibly irresponsible about it. (Though they ARE old enough to get that STEALING IS WRONG in general, so that is ALSO a very frustrating thing to have happen).
GAH! They will be getting another earful from me tomorrow over this money nonsense!