I have an all boys class this year. Uh huh, all boys. Many of them are really into football and yesterday I said, "If you were on teams, the team winning points for listening and following directions would be these guys" as I gestured to a few that were listening to me amongst the rowdiest of, well, an all boys class. So then they got all excited about forming teams so today we did. Three captains were randomly selected and they picked their teams. Then each team was instructed to create a team name, a team mascot, and brainstorm a list of rules, activities, and behaviors that would earn them points or deductions. It was all about the boys. I was giving them tons of freedom and tons of choice (within structure, of course).
And they started to whine. I realized that an all boys class would never imagine being given this much freedom and choice. Many of these particular boys were probably never given this much freedom and choice. It was just too much to take in. Maybe they were a little unsure. Maybe even a little scared to trust themselves. Maybe they were not used to this type of learning environment and their whining was really their way of asking me to just do it all for them.
Then there are my own young children. Tonight as we read books before bed, Tulip began to flop around the way she does when she's tired. When she was a toddler, I used to say that she gets clumsy when she's sleepy. Tonight I watched the way she was so fidgety and restless and floppy and wild and realized, um, it's the Friday night after a whole week of going to school all day. The girl was exhausted. And here I was reading her a book and expecting her to be cognizant of the story and our routine. It was just too much. She was begging me for permission to just let her shut down. Her wild floppiness is her way of communicating to me, "Mama, just send me to bed. I can't do any more."
Myself? Sometimes I catch myself fantasizing about having someone else's job. Someone at the store. A cashier or something. Some job where I show up, my boss tells me exactly what to do, and I do that one task for a few hours. I get to talk to some people and then they are on their merry way and I get to perform the same task again. Safety. Sometimes I even think about a job where I am supposed to only work with objects, not people. Which is so unlike me so I must be really really exhausted and stressed with my work when I have this fantasy. But sometimes the thought of taking objects from the place where they do not belong and arranging them attractively in a new place where they do belong is a very appealing job description.