Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

The good:
Hurrah! The Democrats are in power. First time in over a decade. If there's anything that lil' W needs it's a hostile house. Hooray!

The bad:
I've been erupting recently. Smart ass children have been finding themselves on the end of a very pointed stare and comments delivered with ice. Not all the comments have been original, but they've all worked wonderfully:

"This puzzle is stupid"
"You can't do the puzzle, that doesn't mean the puzzle is stupid"

"*Random smart ass comment*"
"Was that important? Was that relevant? Did that have anything to do with what we were talking about? Or was it just a stupid comment that was meant to make you look smart?"
"That failed?"

"Anyone have any idea how many triangles there are?"
"Spoken like a true virgin. Next?"

The ugly:
Travel makes you boring. I can't believe no-one has noticed this before.

Each day, I wake up early, I drive for an hour to get to whichever school I am visiting today. I deal with the same five annoying kids you find at every school. I come home, I fall asleep during a movie. I haven't been blogging recently because there hasn't been anything interesting to talk about.

But it's not just me. Everyone knows one - they're the 'experienced' traveller. They go overseas for a few days or weeks, probably hang around a lot of touristy spots, or alternatively, the alternative tourist spots. Then they fly back into the country, and regale you with oft repeated and increasingly dull stories of their exploits. In the worst case, they develop an arrogance that you could never really understand(insert bog standard, vaguely adventurous travel destination) and how truly soul inspiringly, mind meltingly superior it is because you've never been there. Or if you have been there, you failed to appreciate it like they would.

Then they spend the rest of the time chewing your ear off (as you're attempting to chew your own leg off in a misguided but energetic attempt to get away) about how nice it is to get back to real showers and toilets, and the terrible belly flu they had and the horrible bog they had it in.

I've got a theory about how this works:

It's like they get thrown out of their social networks for a week, forget how they relate to them and turn back into the toddler who answers the question "How many apples?" with "My dog is called pineapple".

It makes me sick.

Worse, I'm probably one of them.


At 9:28 am, Anonymous katie said...

toddlers give you answers that relate to the question (usually) it may not be the right number but it will be a number.

you're the adult in these situations, show it! they maybe smart ass little shits but they have a fragile ego and little idea. as long as they're not harming anybody let them have their moment in the sun.

Also if they say the puzzle is stupid talk them through it. look at what they're doing maybe help them find another way to tackle it. you're there to teach them not put them down and make them feel like crap.

i know you'll proably attack me for this but just think about the effect of your actions.

At 12:07 pm, Anonymous Kylie said...

And hey, if you need some normalcy, call people and let them regale you with fascinating tales of working in the work-a-day world that is Canberra - the town where they legalised prostitution so they wouldn't look two-faced with all the public servants whoring themselves to the government.
I'm 99% certain that you don't need/want the advice, but I do know how you feel and in my experience one of the best things you can do to stay grounded when everything keeps changing around you is get enough sleep - up it to 10 hours a day if you need to. Also call people who aren't on your trip. If all else fails, a good dose of WoW usually sorts most things out!
Another suggestion - you could try teaching those kids other 'significant' numbers than 69. For example 86 - dead or dying. Works as a verb too, eg 'Can we 86 the inappropriate sexual references, I'm trying to be human'
Cheers buddy, keep on keeping on!

At 12:44 pm, Blogger Rude Mechanical said...


Firstly, I do not deal with toddlers. The youngest children I deal with are in year 3. At this age, some modicum of polite behaviour is expected.

Secondly, it's basic psychology, if you allow one child to shout out something stupid and get away with it, you're reinforcing that that sort of behaviour is acceptable. Now since they know that that sort of behaviour is inexcusable with their teachers, what you're actually reinforcing is that it is alright to act like a jerk during your show. Worse, other kids will recognise this and take what they see as an opportunity to throw in their own stupid ass comment later in the show.

Thirdly, I do not insult children who make mistakes or are over enthusiastic in engaging with the show, they'll either recieve encouragment or a polite non-confronting reminder of appropriate behaviour, it's only the children who are actively out to sabotage you who get stomped down.

Fourthly, the 69 comments come from teenagers, they're deliberatley trying to sabotage the show, and anything any of their peers may be trying to get out of it. They need to be smacked down, again as negative reinforcement.

Fifthly, when the teachers do their job, I have no need of any of this. Either because they have taught the children to behave, or because they are on top of any issues the moment they appear.

Sixthly, I have had teachers congratulate me on thee way I handle the children. I've had them tell me that that's exactly wht that particular child needed.

Seventhly, do you really think I just leave a child with a puzzle they're having trouble with? Do you really think I don't spend a goodly amount of my time explaining puzzles in a way that brings the puzzle within their frame of reference, and shows them how tho think their way through it? I mean really? The comment was made to a child who refused to engage with the puzzle no matter how much assistance was given, basicly, he just wanted attention, and I did not havew time to give it to him.

Eighttly, context is everything. There are situations in which every one of my comments would by wildly innappropriate. I have worked with kids of this age group for eight years. I'm aware of when I can say something, and when it would be best not too.

Ninthly, because it needs saying again. These are not toddlers. They have completely different emotional and mental landscapes. They know what they're doing is innappropriate, and are aware that their actions bring consequences. I don't pick on kids, they decide to push the boundary and find that this time it pushed back.

At 5:01 pm, Anonymous katie said...

ok i know they're not toddlers you're the one who made the toddler comment in the first place.

if teenagers happily take them down a peg you just made out as if it was getting done to the younger ones.

just because i worked in childcare doesn't mean that's all my course covered it covered the emotional social need etc of children upto and including the age of tweleve.

last of all you happen to have an over sensitive sister who see people out there doing the wrong things with children not just parents but people with training and knowledge and just wants to head butt them in the hope of knocking some of the stupidity out of them.

At 10:34 pm, Blogger Rude Mechanical said...

"ok i know they're not toddlers you're the one who made the toddler comment in the first place."

10 sentences, 6 paragraphs and 1 subsection after I stopped talking about what I said to kids ina a completely unrelated analogy...


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