Friday, March 2, 2012
SOLSC Who knows best?
It was sunny and mild - high 40s? Low 50s? I took off my winter coat almost immediately upon reaching the sunbaked asphalt playground (the unfortunate reality of our temporary home this year) and hid it in a corner. My turtleneck and sweater vest would keep me warm. One by one, children came up to me and asked,
"May I take my coat off, Ms. Ingram?"
"Are you warm? You decide. I am hot. Mine is off. It's a little chilly with the breeze; you might want your jacket."
Too much chatter for them; their coats were off before I had finished my ramble. Run! Run! Run! Time to do laps around the play structure.
When each child got to the other side of the playground, my assistant pulled the coatless one over and insisted, "You need your jacket! Go get it and put it on!"
I wasn't even aware of the contradictory messages from us until one preschooler stood in front of me, twisting her coat in her hands, and said, "Ms. Ingram, I don't know what to do!"
Another teacher overhears and interjects, with a tone of disapproval,
"Ms. Ingram, there is a chill to the air, I am insisting my children keep their coats on."
I give her an unchecked look of confusion and continued,
"Shouldn't everyone decide for themselves? Won't they put their coat back on if it is too cold and they need it? Wouldn't that be a natural consequence?"
My assistant hears this and interjects, supporting the other teacher,
"I am making them put on their coats because I am very cold. I need my coat. That's why."
Sometimes it surprises me what I find myself explaining.
Sometimes it surprises me what I hear.
Sometimes I feel very alone.