Just Say No to Silly Bandz but Enjoy a Coke

17 Aug

I’m not in school anymore yet I feel like I’m being tested. I’m sure my answers will be wrong – especially from an educator’s point of view – but as the always-being-educated I have to try to comprehend the logic.

I understand and sympathize with the need for teachers to maintain acceptable behavior and keep their classrooms free of distraction to provide an optimal learning environment for children. However, I’m concerned what some tactics may be teaching students.

Schools ban things all the time because of the hoopla the outlawed items cause. I never questioned it until getting a letter about what the teachers call “overpriced, colorful, plastic rubber band bracelets” or Silly Bandz. Apparently, the bracelets cause quite a raucous. The teachers say kids with them trade and fight over them. The kids without them covet them. To settle the situation, the Silly Bandz have been banned. (Other schools have also banned them.)

I understand this may be the most efficient way to solve the issue, but what about the teachable moments? I don’t believe that teachers should parent the children but I do believe children learn how to behave appropriately in society while they are in school – learning how to work through differences, jealousy and maybe even a criminal act (a student swiping another Bandz). Instead, the teachable moment is removed. Don’t like something? Ban it.

One thing that’s not being banned – despite the feelings of envy other students may feel – is the weekly reward of a bottle of Coke.

Nia’s teacher uses the refreshing beverage as a reward for the students with the most green strips at the end of the week. Now, I’m not a super health nut or anything. We let our kids eat junk. It just had my mind going because it’s not a secret about the health concern of sodas in schools. Also, this now means my child, who rarely gets caffeine (and when she does it’s like 5 ounces) now consumes 12 ounces of sugary, caffeinated yum in the middle of the day. Because I’m thinking the sodas are an inexpensive and desirable treat for the teacher and students, I’m not bothered enough to express my questions to the teacher. But I suppose I could always request Nia get a non-caffeinated beverage instead. After all, she’ll be getting one every week.  (Said like a super snobby mommy.)

The funny thing? Nia gets the Cokes but she never did wear her Silly Bandz to school when she was allowed. Maybe those teachers are on to something – no Bandz must mean better behavior. Lesson learned.

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3 Responses to “Just Say No to Silly Bandz but Enjoy a Coke”

  1. Karen August 19, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    Wait a minute…good kids get caffeine and sugar….hmmm…so afterward, if they act up, who’s fault is it then?

    Why not buy a package of silly bandz for $2 and give one of those out? As an added incentive, give them 5 minutes to trade after a great week of behavior. They are actually much cheaper than the coke…oh…wait…cause coke gives the soda to the school for free for having the vending machines.

    We have free coke at our college, too. It was a reward for banning Pepsi from our vending machines. Interesting how coke is marketing to young ones and being associated with good behavior. I had a good day, let’s go get a coke!

    I would be outraged and as a teacher, I would flat refuse to offer a coke as a tool for good behavior. It is a tool for poor teaching, in my opinion.

  2. Anna August 21, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    I think the Coke reward is outrageous! 12 oz? Does the principal know about this? I would totally be the squeaky wheel in that situation and ruin everybody’s fun. 😦

  3. nikkival August 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    I agree with you both. It gets even more interesting. It turns out the principal is ok with Silly Bandz – saying they are a great way to teach responsibility and are great rewards. However, he supports an individual teacher’s decision to ban them. Nia got another Coke on Friday. The kicker? She only drank half and was going to bring the rest home. It leaked all over her backpack. Blah. I was proud of her for not drinking all of it though. Another sticky factor – I talked to Nia about getting a Sprite instead of a Coke and she got so sad. I’m too late! She’s been hooked!

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