Arkansas teachers have been told they can continue to reward students with candy, despite a state battle against childhood obesity in schools.
Ever since TinyTuna has been in Kindergarten, I have been battling the public school candy monster. They gave out candy for everything: as an incentive, as a tool for learning, or as a reward. Partly cloudy? Milky Ways a-plenty!
So I complained. And complained. And complained some more.
Their argument: School should be fun.
They counted with candy -- and then ate it. They did addition with candy -- and then ate it. They did science with candy -- and then ate it. They formed geometric shapes with candy -- and then ate it. Heck, they probably found a way to conjugate verbs with candy -- before they ate it.
My argument: Learning is fun and it has nothing to do with candy.
Obviously, since I have battled these sugar-coated windmills for many years now, you can see precisely how far my argument has gotten me.
This entire concept of "fun" has always driven me crazy. When did it become so all-fire important to entertain children 24/7? I've always told TinyTuna that school is her "job". I have a job that I go to every day. Her job is school, and her job is to listen and learn and do her very best. I'm not saying that school needs to be drudgery or a punishment, but let's face it: school is a privilege and learning is a responsibility, plain and simple. I firmly believe if you posses a love of teaching and a love of learning and a love of your students, it WILL be fun.
I've tried approaching this from a nutrition standpoint. I'm certain that TinyTuna isn't the only child who will do two things upon consuming massive amounts sugar: Spike and crash. Either one is unpleasant and both together is torture. So, as a parent (and in self-defense), I will go out of my way to avoid the spike and crash. This means that in my house, candy is strictly limited, and can only be consumed in very small amounts and never on an empty stomach. If I'm smart enough to figure this out, I would think it would be a no-brainer for a teacher who deals with a classroom of children on a daily basis.
And if you don't care about the sugar highs and lows, consider the obesity problem in children as well as the alarming increase of children suffering from diabetes. How hypocritical is it to yank juice machines with one hand while you fill your classroom candy jar with the other?
Sure, it's easy to reward with candy. And the kids will love it. And love you. But when they start bouncing off the walls, or stop participating because they are sleepy and can no longer focus, don't complain to me. One of the most important things kids need to learn is that the satisfaction of a job will done comes from within, and not from a fistful of Jolly Ranchers.