Thursday, June 24, 2010

Moral Lessons Outside My Office Door

Being that our office at work is somewhat centrally located, we get a lot of strange experiences.

We also have a window that overlooks the gym, and that often leads to random people entering our office - usually without asking - just to look in the window.  "I'm just checking to see if my kids are there."  "I'm just looking for this one teacher."  But never, "Excuse me, is it alright if I look through the window really quick?"

The other day, I was placing something in a mailbox, and I made the mistake of leaving our office door open.  As I turned around, a teacher peeks to see if someone's in the office and walks right in.

"Umm..excuse me??" I asked to no avail.  The teacher looks into the window and say, "I'm just making sure my kids are all there."  Then he walked out.  I don't even talk to this man.  He's not even a teacher in the school we're part of, but of the school we share the building with.

If I were to do that in that man's office, I'd be yelled at.

Then, there are the random things you'll hear in the hallway.

In previous years, one of my coworkers overheard the principal telling kids that she was sent there by god to be the principal.  I mean, don't get me wrong.  I understand the whole "I have a calling" thing, I really do.  But how appropriate is it, really, to tell kids that in a public school system?

Sometimes, it's teachers yelling at little kids about ridiculous things.  Yes, there's yelling.  People don't want to believe that their kids are getting yelled at even though they're in the 1st grade.  But it happens.  And usually about stupid things like staying in a straight line, or fidgeting, or crying about something.

I forget that we're training the kids to be soldiers.  Wait...we're not?  Well, YOU tell the teachers that.  I don't want to get yelled at.

Sometimes, it's teachers sharing their bit of wisdom to little perplexed kids.  I just overheard a teacher asking their Kindergartener what they would do if they saw money on the ground.  The kid first said they would leave it alone, but then they realized that they would pick it up.  After being asked why, the kid said that they would be able to buy stuff with it.  But the teacher decided that the moral lesson of the day was that they should give it to any adult who's nearby, because it might be theirs.

Personally, while I think it would be good to look around and to see if someone nearby might have dropped some money or even to ask a cashier if it's near the register, there's something to be said about not feeling guilty for finding and keeping something someone lost.  Really, that child would probably give the money to their parent anyway, seeing that he probably won't be going on random mall trips by himself.

If a child approached you and asked if that dollar bill (of whatever amount) was yours, what would you do?  If that child was yours and they picked up a dollar bill (of whatever amount), would you want to find it's rightful owner?
Tempting, eh?

Now, let me tell you a little story.

When I was younger, my parents taught me never to pick up anything off the ground.  Nothing.  It's dirty, who knows where it came from, blah blah blah.  Then one day, after walking out of church, I was with my uncle and there was a $20 bill on the ground.  Now, I was told not to pick up anything off the ground.  So I didn't.  But when my uncle caught sight of it, some other adult reached for it and claimed it as their own.  I was reprimanded for not picking it up. 

So, if I'm going to take away any lesson from being part of an outside agency in a public school setting, it's that you should make sure to check your morals before going around and sharing them with other people's children.

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