Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Behavior Support starts in your own backyard

I've been too swamped with work to post until I witnessed this craziness at a conference in Columbia yesterday. It was too rich to pass up.

Picture this:

A packed hotel conference room full of school administrators. That's fancy talk for Principals, Assistant Principals, Superintendents and the like. You know, the people teachers and students alike will walk down different halls to avoid, the ones who sometimes wield their power with wooden paddles drilled with holes. The authority figures, the check-signers, the deciders. Yeah, yeah, surely the vast majority are like Morgan Freeman in some 1980's movie where he saves the gang-ridden school from a horrid fate, but play along with me here, kids.

The speaker was a honcho, a muckety-muck and frankly, the real deal. He had flown in from Oregon, and is someone who is well-respected, frequently published, and clearly had gone to some trouble to speak to this huge crowd.

I'm in the back row, so I can see the crowd and the Expert.

Which means I can also see the three different people who are openly READING THE NEWSPAPER, cover to cover, while the Expert talks. When one woman finishes the sports page, she opens her laptop, connects to the hotel's wireless connection and begins shopping for a new cell phone.

They're not even trying to hold the newspapers on their laps. They hold them open, full page up, leisurely turning page after page, occasionally glancing at the speaker, and sipping from their coffee cups.

Do you think they would tolerate this rude behavior from their students?

I wish the speaker would have stopped his talk and sent them out.

I wish I would have had the courage of my convictions to have told them to go to the lobby to read and surf the net.

I wish I could tell you positively that a couple of them sported name tags from Lebanon Schools, but I'm only 85% sure.

More than anything I wish I'd only dreamed this horrible behavior.

Oh yeah--the topic of the conference? Missouri Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support.

Administrator--heal thyself.


Jack said...

Teachers make the worst students, something I say with much chagrin.

It says so much, doesn't it?


Auntie K said... with the authority of a 15-year-old girl).

I can understand if you aren't interested in the topic, but need to maintain a seat in the hall for the sake of earning cred for being at the conference at all, but to be openly rude to the speaker is definitely behavior that wouldn't be tolerated in most schools.

My personal opinion...people need to get over their damn selves...I'm referring to the parent at a t-ball game who talked into his bluetooth headset phone thingie throughout his son's game; the 4th graders in our church who play Gameboy-type devices (clearly I'm out of the tech loop on that one) throughout the service...with their parents' approval; and the cell phone chatterboxes who clog up every store I'm in these days! I'm worn out with having to wait for some SUV-drivin' soccer mom to decide which box of cereal to buy all the while talking mindlessly on her phone and oblivious to the fact that her cart is blocking the store aisle, and people are standing around waiting to get by.

I've been supervising vacation Bible school this week, and the one thing I'm probably the Church Bitch about is that the kids sit down and shut up while an adult is talking. I don't humor any boorish behavior...and have had to get onto some of them in front of their parents. But we adults (like the speaker at the conference) have worked hard for weeks on making an interesting and fun program, and the kids need to learn that just because they are momentarily bored with hearing Scripture doesn't mean they can get up and just walk off.

I could seriously rant about this for a long, long time, but the fact is, boorish people behave boorishly.