I’m Bored…or Not

Sep 4, 2016

“I’m bored!” If I had a dime for every parent who told me his or her son or daughter needed to be moved to a different classroom because his or her child was bored and not being challenged”, I would be a very wealthy man. In my experience, rarely, if ever, is challenge the issue.
There is a big difference between challenge and interest. I can give a student a calculus problem, which is challenging, but if he or she would rather be hunting for a rare Pokemon in the Walmart parking lot, he or she may say, “I’m bored”, which really means, “This isn’t fun. I want to do something else”.
Perhaps the real issue here is our children’s insatiable need to be interested in a task in order to complete it. Having grown up in a culture of instant gratification, children seem to only attend to high interest tasks. Unfortunately, in the real world, many mundane tasks must be completed. [as evidenced by the dirty dishes sitting in my kitchen sink…] The reality is sometimes we all have to do things we don’t like or want to do.
So the next time your child tells you he or she is bored, do not feed the beast by fanning it with attention. Let your child work through the problem independently and allow him or her the opportunity to learn a critical life skill in the process.

Generalizing to Extremes

As I lay awake last night staring at the ceiling, it was clear to me that my original idea for this week’s post would have to wait.  Given the incident that occurred at yesterday’s presidential rally, I believe there is a bigger issue to address. I’ve been...

The Concerning Colorful Spectrum of Language

Though actions may speak louder than words, we best not underestimate how language modeling shapes the behavior of the children we are collectively raising.  I guess it’s a hazard of my profession, but I regularly see and hear the world through the eyes and ears of...

Teacher Dads

Dads, today I celebrate you as teachers.  In fact, I believe it is one of your most important roles.  Fathers are always teaching, continually by example, and most of the time without even knowing they are doing so.  In this regard, I have seen some masterful work.  I...

Predictable Routines Needed

“The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” This quote from Mark Twain seems appropriate given the changes occurring in homes as another school year ends. Parents, we’re lucky. Our kids have had nine months of consistency thanks to the hard work of teachers. We...

One Chapter at a Time

Relieved. Happy. Discouraged.  Exhausted. These were some of the adjectives teachers mentioned when asked how they were feeling about the school year ending.  Although the responses varied, all teachers agreed - they were ready to have some closure with their...

Surrogate Teacher Moms

“Do you have any kids?” I once asked a teacher friend. “Absolutely,” she said. “I have a classroom full of them.” I laughed and walked away, but that thought stuck with me. Let’s face it - some of the best mothers in our lives weren’t our mothers, in the biological...

Get Physical

I’ve done a great deal of yard work over the past few weeks and have been reminded of an important behavior strategy. It’s one I don’t talk about nearly enough, given its effectiveness. Of course, with most people’s busy schedule it’s also hard to come by. The...

Look for the Foundation

Did you know that behaviors have a build-up effect over time?  Most teachers do.  And although there is an ebb and flow pattern to the behaviors of students, we see them all at the tail end of the school year – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Fortunately, we have...

Coming Together

So I’ve been thinking about this post all week.  Though the original inspiration hit me in the middle of the eclipse last Monday, it was driven home again yesterday.  (Being a spiritual man, I believe sometimes God circles back around and gives me reminders – to make...

Positive Collective Memories

As we move into the final months of the school year, now is a great time for educators to celebrate successes.  However, the problem with trying to do so is that we don’t always see the results of our labor right away.  Oftentimes our efforts are laying a foundation...