Saturday, February 2, 2008

Bad Behavior and Future Success

I've worked with high schools and it can be frustrating. And though all teens are a pain the neck, I was up-in-arms over the youth I worked with at "Fair East-side". They were bad. Unruly. Foul-mouthed. Promiscuous. Violent. Unashamed. But I also saw their human side. The youn man who came to school smelling of weed who slept in 1st period everyday. I soon found out he was the only able-bodied, sane-minded person in the house and sold drugs all night to keep food in the house and a roof over his, his ailing grandfather and (I suspect) cracked out mom's heads.
No easy answers. All hard questions.

But they were all knuckle heads. Just didn't want to listen. Angry. Many for good reason. Others because of lack of patience with older adults and the 'failure' to comprehend socially accepted ways of behaving.

I'm no psychologist, sociologist or social worker, so I won't pretend to know all of the right things to say. And I am aware of the challenges but it just still seems to me that...Not acting right can get you in a whole heap of trouble and block your blessings.

Take my employees. Though adults, they are emotionally & psychologically grown-ass high schoolers. Immature. Behave unprofessionally. Easily riled. Take all criticisms personally. Want to react (and often) fight if anyone calls them on their inappropriate behavior. Uncouth..Not only are they unprofessional, undisciplined, they are oblivious. They fail to take note of the models of professional behavior of others around them (me, other supervisors, adminstrative personnell, etc.) They have to be reminded of what they are doing wrong, what to do right..ALL OF THE TIME. I really hate that part of my job (and no, I can't get rid of them. The social workers who I work with and work for, aren't as frustrated or alarmed by their behavior as I am. Interestingly, they also don't offer any assistance with addressing these behavior issues).

But a team of researchcers, funded by the NSF, have found that young children who are disruptive (read, bad assess) in school can keep up educationally. However, if these behavioral problems aren't stemmed and continue it can interfere with some aspects of academic achievement. But even more compelling is the relationship between bad behavior in school and lack of success later in other words the inability to get along well with others, take direction, improve performance, can interfer with one's chances to a land good education &/or job opportunities.

I swear I see that in my crew of employees. And they even talk about how much time they spent in trouble in school, dropping out, fighting (all of the time) cursing out teachers, etc. Billy Bad Asses they were and still are.

And this isn't lack of intelligence. No the opposite. My employees are smart, not formally educated, but full of potential. And the study hints to the same thing. I think these little devils are bored, finish their work early and then terrorize their classmates in the freetime. Teachers & other students get tired of them and socially ostracise them (I don't blame them. I want to pitch them off of a tall bridge, too.) Having failed to become 'properly' socialized they don't the same kind of education (formal or informal) or chances as other, well-behaved children. They just don't fit it. They aren't invited to participate in door-opening activities and clubs. And I think this might be especially important for black kids from the hood who have been bussed into wealthier schools with white students or to an intergrated school. They miss out on better educational opportunities or job offers. They're the smart, but unrefined and failed to meet their potential, and become the you-just-don't-belong-here adults.

What to do? What to do?

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