Student 1: Aye miss, you know that when you’re bad, you get to know all the people?
Student 1: Yuh, like, when you a bad kid, you know the high rank people. You pass them in the hall and they know you, most of the time they gotchu. And it’s because you acted bad and get in trouble – they all know me.
Student 2: Uh, that’s not a good thing?
Student 1: It is because they know me.
Student 2: But it’s not a good thing that they know you? Why would you want them to know you? It’s better to stay out of trouble and for those “high rank” to not know you.
This was a fleeting classroom conversation that I’ve not been able to erase from my mind. What do we reward? Isn’t this a similar concept in so many school buildings?
While I might celebrate the potential relationship-building opportunity for the “bad kid,” as my student would say, what about the “not bad” kid? What opportunities are we missing in building capacity, in ensuring all students are being seen?
It is so often the goal of the stereotypically average child to coast, to stay under the radar. It comes as a surprise to most (if you know me!) that I was incredibly shy and quiet throughout my K-12 career. My goal was to remain unseen and make sure my teachers only needed my name for attendance and to return my assignments back to me.
I was an average, in the middle student – how might have my school experience been different if I had access to “high rank” people in the building (you know, like teachers and APs) without needing to be on either side of the spectrum: “bad kid” or valedictorian?