I’m tired of excusing away bad behavior on the part of grownups. Particularly in regards to tattling. You’d think there would be that magical moment, ideally in elementary school, when people realize that they shouldn’t tattle on others.
Is it really earth shatteringly important for me to know that Ms. So and So was 2 minutes late?
One of my PE teachers has adopted a policy of saying, “Tattle tale time is after 4 p.m.” 4 p.m. is after all the kids have gone home. I wonder what the teachers would think if I just didn’t listen to them and all their supposedly innocent slips of information.
“Oops. I didn’t mean to tell you about how Ms. So and So took the kids outside to clean the animal cages during Math time. Math time! Can you believe it?!”
Ironically, when I was teaching middle school, I remember being amazed that older students would still tattle on others. And by tattle, I don’t mean they’d tell me about the class bully trying to shove their head into the toilet during break but things like, “She is looking at me.”
In an effort to cure my middle school kids of all their tattling, I developed worksheet for them to complete if they needed to tell me about something. Especially if we were in the middle of a lesson or group work. I worked hard to teach them the difference.
For instance, I wanted to know if Susie was making herself puke in the bathroom after lunch. I didn’t want to know that Johnny passed a note to
puking Susie. I wanted to know if Horace had his glasses broken by Butch. I didn’t want to know if Horace hid his glasses in his pocket during lunch though who could blame him for not wanting to look at the lunchroom food. It boiled down to a simple rule. If life, limb and/or feelings were at stake, come tell me.
The worksheet had about 20 questions for them to complete. Things like describe the weather, what is one thing you learned in your last class, what do you wish were on the lunch menu, and so on. The last question was, “What did you want to tell me?”
I’ve thought about pulling that sheet out for my teachers. Either that or posting a sign announcing, “Tattletales accepted after 4 p.m.”
Anyone want to join me for a nice run at 3:59 p.m?