Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recess: By a Boy for Boys

Long Live Recess
by Roland Spencer


  Basically everything at recess started getting banned around the end of September.  And by everything I mean…

Soccer:  I personally don’t play soccer but I see the soccer boys get frustrated every time the game gets banned.  Soccer is their life at school and the second thing to hockey for most of them.  When it is taken away they feel mad and sad.  They need to be given chances to cooperate, and practice team work without adults.  Getting put ‘on the wall’ every time they touch each other in the game, feels abusive (offensive and insulting) to them.  If someone is being ridiculous, pull them off, to cool down, talk, BUT let them get back to the game to play and have fun.

Manhunt (hide and seek, tag):  Manhunt is one of the only games that we like to play.
The teachers are always mad at us for getting muddy and bringing it in the school, but you don’t get it cause most of you have kids that are younger (or don’t have kids) and aren’t into this stuff yet, and boys are supposed to get a little muddy, what do you expect from an 11 year old kid? For me I feel TRUE, I feel how I should, getting a little muddy is as close to how freedom feels in the summer as we can get.  When you take Manhunt away we feel like bags of potatoes because we can’t do anything.  We feel restless and stir crazy when awesome games are taken away.

Just imagine if we kids banned coffee because you spilt it and were getting too talkative because you have too much of it.

Being boys (fighting, running and body slamming,hands on): Being a boy means that you are a daredevil, sometimes you just “do” before you think.  Most boys Do first then think.  e.g.. riding a toy dump truck off the pier.  It’s hard for boys to sit still, and not touch each other, it looks like we are being rough and sometimes aggressive but that is how boys are with each other, that hows we get along, thats how we understand each other.  Being boys is hard at school because most of you are female teacher and you can never know what it is like to be a boy, but we need you to understand that we need you to stop (what feels like) picking on us, bully us, and you are getting mad at us for bullying when we aren’t.


Bringing scooters inside:  Most scooters that we have, have nothing to lock them too.  Most scooters that are good are well over $100 and a lot of us have saved up our own money for them, so if we can’t bring them inside it feels stressful to us.  Maybe we could have a scooter corner in our class, or keep neatly tucked in at the coat room by our hook, if its not put away it goes in the office for the rest of the day, and get it at the end of the day to bring home, but you get the chance to do the right thing the next day.




Lets Make Recess Fun Again

 Let Boys be Boys - Means let them work things out for themselves sometimes.  Give them time and space to do the right thing.

Add scooter, skateboard and bike at recess.  It would really make me and a lot of kids happy and we are more likely going to pay better attention for our classes after.  My Dad and I and my buddy will volunteer and make a mini half-pipe for the yard.  And obviously we will wear helmets, if kids don’t wear helmets they don’t get to ride.  We could even teach other kids how to scooter at recess, maybe the Home and School would donate to get a few extra Razor Ultra Pros from Walmart ($400 for 4, plus helmets) to keep at school as good learner scooters.

What if we could get some Volunteer High Schooler Boys for the 2 recess times to hang with us for free play and ‘organized’ games.  Energetic, fun, cool, teenagers to look up too.

What if the recess Teachers and Monitors learnt to trust us more?  Cut us some slack?  Give us the chance to work things out in our own way?



Sometimes us kids feel so overwhelmed at school because of all the rules and every teacher has different rules on top of the school rules, we have rules at home, we have rules with all different family members and we have our own personal rules.  Wouldn’t it be nice to at least take some of the rules away.  We all know we need to play fare, we all know to be nice and we all know to not hurt each other too bad.  We also know sometimes we will get hurt and thats okay, and most parents are okay with that to…isn’t that what life is about sometimes….learning from experiences and from our mistakes.


When you see two boys bump shoulders in passing, we are just saying “hey” with our bodies.  It’s just in fun.  Your office would not be as busy if you let stuff like that go.

Boys like stupid jokes and acting goofy and being rowdy.  We can’t help it.  My mom says “its obnoxious to people but we all need to be understanding.”


I would love to talk more about this with you.  I would like to thank-you for (reading) or listening and I hope you will take some time and think about my ideas.  It would mean a lot to me.  I have copied some links to a great video, a must watch and an article my mom and I found.




Hi.  Just a quick note.  For months (and part of last school year) my son has come home sad or frustrated about recess. Recess for him is one of his only reprieve from classes that are a struggle for him.  And now recess is a struggle too.  We have talked off and on about this topic for a while now and the other week I said “Well do something about it.  Make a change.  Start a conversation about it.”  Our kids are full of insight and ideas, (even (especially) the ones that are struggling with the teaching style.)  They are (as all kids are) so worth listening too, they are begging to be heard and trusted and matter in the school that just doesn't fit them.

We brainstormed his ideas first on paper.  Broke it down into his top issues. Then went from there.  I sat at the computer and typed while he talked.  These are his words, his ideas and his frustrations  and his solutions.  We talked about who he'd like to read this essay, and what he would like to see come of it.  He mentioned sharing it on my blog.  I reminded him some or many people may read this...to which he replied "Good". 

I also want to point out I have the utmost respect, admiration, and love for anyone that choices teaching as a profession, just like parenting it is not for the faint of heart, and just like parenting, we do or should always strive to be better at it than the day before. 

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