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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

#doublepoints – A Schoolyard Story- Hardons

Conflict erupted on the ClubWaka Austin Facebook group this week. It reminded me of a similar argument I witnessed 25 years ago on the playground at Thompson Elementary. Here is the schoolyard story....

--- Scene 1 ---

Four 3rd graders are hanging out in the center of the playground. This playground is vast with jungle gyms, teeter-totters, monkey bars, and tether ball on one end. The other end of the playground consists of slides and that spinny thing that makes you sick.


 Child 1: "Hey check this out! We are playing on the slides." Child 4: "Why are you playing on that side of the field, that is so last year." Child 2: "We don't like that side of the field because tetherball sucks!" Child 3: "But you should check out these slides, fun for everybody"


 Child 4: "What does this have to do with tether ball? This game is really fun and you guys are pretty good at tetherball" Child 1: "We just want to have fun." Child 2: "Ever since we started playing that kid that powerslams the ball, the game has lost it's fun. That kid is in the 5th grade should only play with the 5th graders. He does even join everybody when we play tag. He just plays tetherball."


Child 3: "Ya, he won't even play tag!" Child 2: "We used to have fun playing tetherball when everybody played tag also, but this year that 5th grader doesn't play tag so we won't play on that side of the field. Child 4: "I've seen you guys powerslam on people! Just because someone doesn't play tag doesn't make them lame. He likes tetherball, he practices tetherball, so he is going to be good at tetherball." Child 2: "It's not about winning at tetherball. He takes it too serious."


 Child 3: "Ya, we only get 30 minutes of recess, we are going to make our own fun playing tag. Plus, nobody is ever on that side of the field anymore. The teeter-totter is broken."


 Child 2: "Stop being hall monitor and telling us what to do!"


 Child 4: "I'm not a hall monitor anymore, I am telling you that you shouldn't play on that side of the field just because of tetherball." Child 1: "I don't appreciate being told what to fucking do! I'm sorry that I have powerslammed before. I try to tell people not to and explain that this is a 'Play' Ground."


 Child 4: "You cursed! I'm telling" --- End Scene 1 ----

--- Scene 2 ---

After child 4 tattled on the other students, the teacher spoke to each separately to discuss the argument. She then sat them down together to get to a resolution. Teacher: "I have listened to you all individually and I have done what I can to make the playground enjoyable for everybody. I tried to schedule your recess to not overlap with the 5th grade as often. We will have the new hall monitor make sure everybody gets equal play time with tetherball." Child 4: "They are just upset that they are losing. And think that if you play tetherball, you should play tag to be fun." Child 2: "How about we have different recess times for the 3rd graders and the 5th graders?"


Child 3: "But teacher..." Teacher: "No buts...I've done everything I can do. Quit being mean to the ex hall monitor." Child 3: "We don't have a problem with the hall monitor. We like the hall monitor. We just wanted people to join us on the slides." Child 4: "Sorry, I just want you to play with us on this side of the field." Child 1: "You should still come over and play on the slides. More space for activities."


--- End Scene 2 ---

Moral of the story:

No matter our age, we all act like children.

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