Friday, October 11, 2013

Just one note from famous

[caption id="attachment_298" align="alignleft" width="300"]"I'll make you famous." - Wm. H. Bonney "I'll make you famous." - Wm. H. Bonney[/caption]

We educators are just one note away from being famous...or more like infamous. I am not talking about winning The Voice or American Idol either.

This week a nearby school district made national news when a couple of kindergarten teachers got fed up with recess problems related to the age-old game of tag. A note was sent home to kindergarten parents that tag and chasing was being banned until further notice with severe penalties handed down to violators.

We can agree or disagree with the decision to outlaw tag and I reacted to it in a number of ways. I got a chuckle as it seems that I recently wrote about a certain teacher disgusted with tag. I shook my head at the proliferation of more "It is easier to ban something than teach it the right way" mentality and I yucked it up on Facebook, calling it the "Wussification of America" and warning that the recent domination that school district was seeing on the football field was 8 years away from drying up when these kids hit high school. Then I thought deeper.

Why do any of us know about a single behavior management decision made by a couple of teachers at one suburban elementary school? How did this become national news and why was it lighting up Twitter? One  tweet from a  parent. That is all it took.

Here is how it happened. A parent received the letter about a "No Tag, No Chasing" policy and was concerned about a threat the teachers made that children violating the policy would have it recorded in their "permanent record". Dealing with the granddaddy of all awful...This could keep them out of Harvard after all...the dad tweeted to the local NBC affiliate with a copy of the note but requested his identity be concealed. The station did a story and within a day, the story had gone viral.

That is the reality of the world in which we live and the reality of teaching today. This should have started and stopped within the school community. Instead of tweeting a news station, the parent should have followed a common sense protocol of respectful courtesy. Go see the teacher. If that doesn't work, go see the principal. Get other concerned parents to join you if it is that big of a deal. Try a little diplomacy. Running to the press is the nuclear option. Back in the day only the President...or Matthew Broderick had nuclear capabilities. Now every mom and dad can launch thermonuclear war on you and your school in 140 characters or less. more thing. Remember all of the concern over the potential demerits in the permanent record? Well there is a far more serious permanent record at stake in this case, the digital footprint. There is no more permanent record than what is online about you. Although I completely disagree with the approach the teachers took, I am glad they weren't identified by name. They don't need to be forever known  and consequently digitally stoned by the masses as the people who outlawed tagged. Let's hope this undisclosed dad has as much concern teaching his child to protect his or her online lifetime permanent record as he does with the one at school hardly anybody ever opens.

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