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The New and Not So Improved School Recess

I am involved in some pretty memorable conversations with my young students.  Here’s the most recent one.

I picked up my Grade 5 tutoring student yesterday from school and as we were driving to my house, I was taught about the “new ways” of contemporary recess activity.

Brian – Well, we have a new rule during recess and lunch at our school. I mean, it’s not a school rule – it’s just between me and my friends.

Diane – Oh, yah? What’s the new rule?

Brian – We’re not allowed to say the words, “North Korea” or “Jong-un” at any time.  But sometimes, we quietly call him, “The Missile Man.”

Diane: Oh, I see. (Pause)  It sure seems like your generation knows more about world events than we ever did when we were your age. When we had recess, we had snowball fights and went tobogganing and chased boys. I’ve got a great story about chasing a boy and ending up in the principal’s office. Do you want to hear it?

Brian: No thanks. We’re not allowed to throw snowballs and we don’t have any hills to toboggan on.

Diane: What about building snow forts?

Brian: We’re not allowed to make big piles of snow because someone might get hurt.

Diane: What about chasing girls?

Brian: We’re not allowed to run.

(Now, I’m beginning to understand why kids talk about politics at recess.)

Diane:  Ok….so, back to North Korea.  Do you talk about politics a lot with your friends? Does it scare you when you hear these terrible stories about what’s going on in the world?

Brian: Oh, we’re not scared. If North Korea starts WW3, the States will destroy them.

Diane:  OK…(another long pause) So, is recess fun for you?

Brian: Oh yah but we’re not allowed to use pretend guns either. That’s why we use pretend knives. But I’m always the pretend paramedic. My job is to heal people. So when everybody gets in trouble for wrestling, I don’t get in trouble because I heal everyone who gets hurt.

Diane: Wow! Recess has REALLY changed.

Brian: And don’t get me started on Trump.

Diane: I definitely will not.  Let’s go play on the ice.

Brian: YES! Ice tutoring!



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