Steve Heisler

Teacher Author Speaker


"Every single child wants to be successful. The problem is, if they can't be successful at being successful, they'll be successful at screwing up. Our job as educators is to change the latter to the former."    

- from the The Missing Link by Steve Heisler

Poor Little Kyle, in trouble again

Recently I have been a party to a Facebook flapdoodle over a purported misbehavior report wherein a middle school student was being formally chastised because he gave his food to another child.

"What is America coming to?"  was the general horrified consensus, "that poor little Kyle gets in trouble for being kind and offering food to another student." 

It's fine to get all bent out of shape about this 'self-less' act and the 'ogres' who are suppressing an action that seems just common sense to us in our homes. However, before you criticize, be certain that you will be as supportive of that same action putting food into the hand of a child to which he or she is severely allergic. Being responsible for other people's children, often several hundred of them if not more, is a bit more complicated than the kitchen responsibility of supervising your child and perhaps another child or two more. 

The age of the student makes little difference. Even in middle school, last I checked, children don't always apply long term wisdom to immediate choices.

Sometimes policy decisions are enacted without deep thought, that's true. Sometime consequences are meted out without deep thought also. How the learning comes to this student certainly may be an issue that ought to be discussed but the complexity of the management itself is often lost on folks who have never been there.  

 I'm not saying there aren't better ways of doing things - there are always betters ways of doing everything. I am only saying that we ought to be a little more circumspect before passing knee-jerk judgments on the actions of school personnel who make more professional decisions in the course of an hour than most professionals make in a week or a month or a even a year. We ought to at least try to understand the whole picture of even a single  decision before level criticism based on just a small part of the picture.