Bird Droppings March 9, 2012
Thinking about Dr. Carl G. Jung and Billy Jack
“If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.” Carl G. Jung
Over the years I have seen this with myself, so often those attributes we see and are upset with we too have within ourselves. Yesterday I got mad at a student who is very self-centered and focused almost entirely on himself. I knew I needed to withdraw from situation and ponder a bit before writing a scathing referral for disrespect and poor attitude which are really a matter of perception. So this morning I am sitting here what direction to go and one of my favorite ploys over the years has been ignoring and I am a champ. So today we shall see and how much attention does one get while ignored. It is like a mirror, we are seeing in others what we have within ourselves. I designed a few years back a student referral slip to refer teachers when they are inappropriate. I probably would have received a write up for as this student said I was constantly picking on him. After ten times of asking nicely to put his phone up which is his downfall and he then is mad at me yet he was not involved in assignment. I was toying with detention but I recall a detention I was over seeing a few months back and somehow I have a problem with sending kids to another teacher for after school punishment, several days after they had issue. It goes against quite a bit of my training and education.
In that previous detention ninety percent were in detention for being late to first period. I always love it when excuses come up, “well I pick up a friend and they are always late as this person strolls in with a Quick Trip coffee cup or Burger king bagel, you want to say whatever. So I go to my duty and nearly twenty kids were in detention. The idea is to sit do your work and no talking. Of course a few wise kids who want to make cute little noises mimicking bodily functions but all settles in and most are reading or studying relatively quickly.
During that detention session I offered in the last twenty minutes of the allotted time a ticket out the door which is always a great Learning Focused Schools period ender and learning tool. Answer correctly and you can leave early. My ticket out the door was a question. What is the life expectancy of the pygmy shrew? There were blank looks across the room. Ok I offered some help how about within two months. Fourteen, a student asks and is in his way. Fifteen minutes left in detention and they ask for another question. I was sort of amazed soon twenty or so questions later and fifteen minutes after detention is over I tell them time is up when kids are interested even in detention they want to learn.
“It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves.” Carl G. Jung
Several years back for my capstone in my Piedmont Master’s program I had a slide and used a quote about students have to want to be there to truly learn. It is interesting how learning occurs in AP classes and Honors classes and seems to be less in those classes where we expect failure.
“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” Carl G. Jung
In the American Journal of Education, November issue 2006 an there is an article entitled “’Drop-Outs” and ‘Push-Outs”, Finding hope at a school that actualizes the ethic of care” by Wanda Cassidy and Anita Bates. The school in the article is focusing on high risk kids but providing an atmosphere of a caring environment and guess what being successful. During my tenure at Piedmont College I participated in a Foxfire based teaching course, entitled the Foxfire Approach to teaching. In one exercise the students list attributes of good teachers and good students. At the Whytecliff Education Center, the school this article was based on, students in interviews said the number one attribute of a good teacher is someone who will listen. I personally have done the Foxfire list with fifteen or so groups and listening is always at or near the top.
“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” Carl G. Jung
For teachers often and for students trying to see and understand the other can be difficult. I watch this every day. Students come to me and complain about this teacher or that and the teacher complains about this student or that and the complaints are the same. Sadly many times listening is a factor but perception is one as well. As adults we see a child’s world in adult terms. I picked up several booklets from the guidance office yesterday almost sarcastically. Adolescences and Understanding teenagers was the title of one. In the brochure there were several cartoons and explanations of why kids do what they do.
“Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.” Carl G. Jung
There are few people in history I would want to meet. Generally I start my list with Ralph Waldo Emerson. He is a fellow existentialist and the more I read the more I wonder about everything which is perhaps why I enjoy Emerson. Henry David Thoreau another I would like to meet and his philosophy so closely ties to Emerson. In the realms of modern folks my list includes a few Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Grandpa Niper (my great, great grandfather), Rev. William Savidge, my grandfather who passed away before I was born and Dr. Carl G. Jung. I have always been impressed with Jung’s approach to dealing with people. It has always intrigued me. He split from Freud because he saw another realm so to say. He saw a spiritual aspect not necessarily religion but something that we have beyond physical rationalizations.
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl G. Jung
I turned a young man away yesterday even though his line was good. Coming by my room on a bathroom pass to ask what we were doing in class. He was just interested the same young man who was in my room just before the bell and then left and then walked around the entire school to get to his class in the room next door history had caught up to him.
“The healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured that turn into torturers.” Carl G. Jung
There are reasons why kids do what they do. It could be mimicking bodily functions or giggling out loud when something strikes them funny even though it disrupts the class. We accuse them of this or that and never really look or listen to why.
“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” Carl G. Jung
I do believe that acceptance unlocks the door and trying to understand and see beyond the symptoms can provide answers.
“Children love and want to be loved and they very much prefer the joy of accomplishment to the triumph of hateful failure. Do not mistake a child for his symptom.” Erik Erikson
I used this as a quote for the day a few days back and included in numerous Bird Droppings, it is a powerful thought. I spoke with a dear friend yesterday about the current state of affairs in Special education around d the country and her response was we may be farther back then we were in 1973 when we finally had mandatory education for all children with IDEA. To me that is most interesting. I have argued for several years about looking simply at deficits and not disabilities especially with Emotional issues. I look back at the article in the November 2006 American Journal of Education about a caring school and difference it made. That sort of makes me want to care about students again. I wonder if we can or was that in legislation too, no caring under section 234.23 on page 569 in the very small print. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks.