But I don’t want to keep your kid in from recess.

Your child in question has not done a thing since returning from Christmas break. A sweet kid with a kind disposition spends nearly every moment of class time rolling on the floor, singing nonsense, ripping/folding/doodling upon every paper given. Forget other classroom tasks. Your child wanders and goofs around, seeming determined to become the legendary class clown.

So I contact you. After all, you are the parent. You know your child. I absolutely trust you want what’s best for your child. I let you know, in polite, action-based terms, just what your kid is doing in class so we can all be on the same page. No surprises, just what I am observing. I am trying differentiated work (it’s getting ripped/folded/doodles upon. I am offering breaks. I am offering individual attention.

And then you respond.

Oh, my! We will certainly help on our end at home. Keep in contact with me.

Sounds good, until you add in…

Oh, and don’t let my child go out to recess.

No. Not the dreaded admonition of consequences. Please, don’t make me keep your kid in from recess.

You have no idea, no idea, what it’s like to spend six hours a day with nearly 30 little kids. Some of them also doing the same things as your kids. Crazy energy being put to absolutely no academic use.

And you want me to keep your kid, maybe all those kids, inside?

But I want to use the bathroom!

But I want to talk to fellow teachers and staff!

But I want some hope those recess breaks will stave off some of that energy!

Heck, I want fifteen minutes to myself, dang it.

All over the place, parents are up in arms against teachers who keep kids inside as punishment. Policies that take away recess due to whatever behavioral or academic issue. Parents who read the studies about the benefits of recess.

Because there are benefits. Modern folk wisdom says the kids who usually lose recess are the ones who need it the most.

Recess is a chance to burn energy, to move, to have unstructured play and socialization. This is where kids have greater opportunities to resolve social issues with little to zero adult input. This is where kids get to use their imaginations and their bodies.

Somehow, I doubt taking away recess is going to magically make your child a model student. Your kid is freakin’ adorable and awesome, and, yes, happens to be going through some major classroom issues that I am concerned about. I contacted you to share my observations because that’s what teachers do. I did not contact you asking if I could somehow make the impossible happen by taking away recess.

So, please, let’s talk about some other solutions and paths.

Your kid needs recess.

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