Back-to-school blues.

Nothing. Gah. Don’t ask me that. Boring!

Are the words most often out of my kids mouths shortly after the school pickup. There’s also a good chance these words are served with a side of some substantial huffing and even a little storming-off-to-slam-a-door if they’re feeling particularly committed to their performance.

Usually my gentle prompting elicits the afore-mentioned closed-mouthed, teenage-esque type mumblings (ironic really seeing as they’re not even close to being teenagers – I’m pointing my finger at the invasion of American television for this. J’accuse!!)

As you can imagine, with this kind of attitude, it’s always interesting to hear what they have to say. Sometimes I’ll get lucky and receive a non-committal: “I can’t remember”, followed by: “we had (insert occasional random subject like Chinese or Art or Cooking).

This usually plays out for at least the first hour that we’re home in the afternoons. I’ve learnt to leave them be, to give them their space, to let them digest the day’s events. This is in the vain hope that they’ll come to me once they’ve cooled off and volunteer the information I seek freely and happily.

This scenario is nothing new and can be found in most households (don’t quote me on this, but come on. Really?!). According to certain respected (maybe respected?) child psychologists and educators, this occurrence can be attributed to the idea that children form “schemas” based on their experiences and the norms of everyday life and routine. Interestingly, I find that as adults we often do the same. For example, I can have a full-on day at work and still come home and say, “oh the usual, nothing major” when asked as to how my day went.

It is thought that once a routine becomes a habit, it is no longer viewed as being special or different. From the perspective of the children, their day is regarded as being somewhat uneventful and mundane, thus explaining the boring responses in answer to my (Spanish) inquisition.

So, as today marks the first day back at school for this family, I have a teensy-tiny request to all of the teachers out there. Note: I shall include myself in this poor lot and mark a permanent yellow sticky-note to my brain for future reference.

“To all of the teachers out there: please change it up a little bit every now and then. You know, ‘variety is the spice of life’ and all that. Please make an effort to engage your students each and every day, to encourage them, to inspire them, to fuel their never-ending hunger for information and to equip them with the necessary skills to go forth and conquer.”

And if nothing else, tell a new joke each day. I’d love the chance to have a normal conversation in the afternoons without feeling as though I’m pulling teeth. Hey, I might even be dazzled with a smile.

4 responses to “Back-to-school blues.

  1. This response of “nothing” is, as you say, quite a common response from both children and adults to the question “What did you do today?” or “How was your day?” I have a strategy that I used with my classes every day and will be writing a post about it very soon. I would love to incorporate some of your content with mine, if you are agreeable.

  2. Pingback: How was your day? | Norah Colvin·

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