Has this ever happened to you?
You are doing hallway duty (or cafeteria surveillance, maybe even bus duty), and you see a student slap another student, or take his notebook or backpack. The offended student then chases the other student around, running into multiple students as they make their way down the hall. You make your way towards the students as they begin slapping, poking, tripping, and/or pushing each other…heck, they may even be engaged in a wrestling match!
“Knock it off!” you yell in order to get their attention. “Why are you doing this to each other?”
The student looks you straight in the eye and says “We were just playing around”…as if that excuses them from any consequences for their poor behavior. You call the student’s parents, and they tell you “Johnny says he was just playing around”…like YOU are the bad guy for actually having the audacity to interrupt their child’s “play time”.
As an educator, it is frustrating to deal with this type of behavior on a daily basis. It is rampant at the elementary level, but it can be an issue at the secondary level as well. This is the “rationale” I use on students when they try to feed me the “We were just playing around” excuse…taken from my latest ebook “Why Do We Have To Go To School – and the Answers to 99 Other Questions Students, Parents, and Teachers Ask”. Click on the blue links to see the answers in more detail!
There are many reasons why “We were just playing around” isn’t a satisfactory excuse for horseplay.
*Putting your hands on someone without their consent is disrespectful
*Every time you touch a person…it has meaning
*Playing around is the first step to bullying
*Playing around leads to name-calling
*Playing around leads to drama
*Why are we “playing around” anyways?
*Are you mature…or not?