From: May Sarmac
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 11 Dec 1996
Remote Name: am.ucsc.edu
Kyle,male,7; Marissa, female, 9; Diego, male, 11; Mariel, female, 10; Cristina, female, 10; Mandisa, female 10?
When Kyle came into the computer lab, I greeted him and asked what he wanted to do for the day. He asked if I could go color with him in the other room. After we gathered our paper and supplies, we went into the other room. Marissa, Mariel, Cristina, Mandisa and Diego followed us in there a few minutes later. We all started to color when Diego took out his own silver marker pen. Mandisa and Mariel asked Diego if they could barrow it. He said yes to them. When Cristina asked to barrow the pen, he said no. After this rejection, Cristina insisted on begging Diego for brief use of the pen. Diego kept saying no to her and eventually got annoyed. He started teasing Cristina by calling her names and threatening to physically shut her up. All of a sudden, Mandisa and Mariel started calling her names too. I asked why they were doing that and they answered that they get picked on all the time at school, but Cristina never gets picked on. I guess to them it was an equal opportunity thing where if the majority of them gets picked on, they everyone has to get picked on too. Marissa and I repeatedly asked them to stop picking on each other and Cristina, but they just ignored us. I suggested that a few of them go to the next room and play on the computers, but they refused to leave. After a while, Cristina was still begging Diego for use of his pen and Diego kept refusing to let her use it. I asked Cristina if there was another pen she could use, but she said she wanted to use that one. I offered to let her use my pens in my backpack and that seemed to make her happy. After I lent Cristina my pens, things got quieter. Howver, it didn't stay quiet for long. The teasing started up again. Diego got so annoyed with Cristina, he walked over to where she was sitting and tried to write on her forehead with his silver pen. I tried to pull him away from her, so he moved away from her. Cristina started to cry while Mandisa, Mariel and Diego teased her even more. I tried to consol Cristina and asked if she wanted to go to the next room and play on the computers. She still refused to leave the room. I then ran to get Maurice and told him about the situation. He came into teh next room with me to try and control the situation. While I was gone, the kids threw pens and markers at each other. When Maurice and I enterd the room, Marissa and Kyle were picking up the mess. Maurice, too, tried to get the kids to separate, but they didn't want to. So he told the kids not to pick on each other because it's not a nice feeling to be picked on. They told him they would comply, so Maurice went to go answer questions in the computer lab. Marissa and Kyle then left the room to go play on the computers. Diego went back and forth between the two rooms; when he wasn't looking, Cristina took his silver pen. When Diego reentered the room we were in, Cristina hid the pen. Diego, Madisa and Mariel searched for the pen, but couldn't find it. When he gave up his search and went to go play on the computer, Cristina started to use the pen again. Mariel and Mandisa saw Cristina with the pen and ran over to her. They ploitely asked Cristina if they could use the pen too. When Cristina said no beacuse they weren't her friends, the tww girls said, "But we're your firends now. Before we weren't". Cristina eventually lent them the pen.
I don't know what type of learning occured in the kids. I learned different ways to deal with the misbehaving kids. At first I left the kids alone and hoped they'd resolve their problems on their own. When that didn't work and they still teased Cristina, I asked them why they were teasing her. When they gave me an answer of "Because that's what we do, we tease each other because it gives us something to do", I suggested that they leave Cristina alone. When they didn't, I ignored the teasers and focused my attention on Cristina. I started talking to her, asking her questions about herself, her likes, dislikes, stuff like that. Then she started to ask me questions about myself, like what I do at B.U. When I told her that I am a university student and I come down to B.U to work with the kids, she asked if I liked working with kids and I answered yes. I guess ignoring the kids that teased Cristina worked beacuse they finally stopped teasing her and joined our conversation. They told me about the kids that go to the day care they go to, their experiences at day care and at school. I was gald that after all that teasing and bickering, they were finally working together to inform me of what goes on in day care and at school.
I noticed these events because I remember how it felt to be picked on in grade school and I felt bad that Cristina was getting picked on by several people. I also noticed how mean some kids can be and how quickly enemies can be friends again. I couldn't help but wonder if all or most kids are really mean then turn really nice and then turn mean again.