Lola O.
From the first time I witnessed my students pick up a pair of scissors and cut something...anything it has been driving me crazy. Whether they are 1st graders or 6th graders they are all perfectionists when it comes to cutting. I hate it. The way they cut, is the way they live. Slowly, with no room for error. Perfectly symmetric lives. If you are teaching here, then most likely you get what I am saying.

They cut so slowly, and it has to be perfect or they want to start all over again. Most of the time they aren't going to keep what they are cutting up because we are using it for a game, but they have to cut it perfectly, glue it perfectly, the lines must be perfectly straight. It's one of those things that irritates the life out of me. I mean come on, you are a bunch of kids. Be messy for goodness sake. Have ragged lines in what you do. They take a million years to cut one piece of paper and something that should take 10 minutes takes 20 minutes because of cutting. We have to include that cutting time when we are planning activities because they never go fast even if we tell them to.

I'm like guys, just cut it up, it's just for a game, you are going to throw it in the trash can after but it's like something is hardwired in them that they HAVE to cut it perfectly. I tell them it doesn't matter but for them it matters. It's the same with the way they write...pretty much everything they do. I thought I was a neatfreak but these kids are light years beyond me when it comes to organization and perfection.

They don't know how to let loose, and it pains me because I feel like they are really missing out on having fun. Life is not perfect, and simple things like cutting a paper for a game doesn't need to be perfect. Who cares if you mess up, or there is a wrinkle in your paper, it is not the end of the world!!!

Everyone is so wound up tight and I'm wondering what's going on inside these kids. What are they thinking, dreaming, and worrying about. They have so much work and pressure at such a young age and it really rubs me the wrong way. I have one 5th grader who doesn't get home till around 10 because she goes to 5 different hagwons after school. Stuff like that makes me really sad for my kids, and what's sadder is that I can't do a single thing about it.

It's not even about the cutting, but about the mentality behind it. That you have to stay within the lines, and that is such a limited way of thinking.

Be blessed,
~Lola O.~
3 Responses
  1. My situation is that I go to help them cut out the cards in their book and if I rip a tiny corner they pout. I just laugh and give it back to them.

    I dunno though 6th grade can be pretty messy! You should walk to the homeroom classes and inspect them. Usually they are not as clean as you think.

  2. Jason Says:

    You need to consider other reasons for why students do this slow and exacting "perfectionist" way of doing language learning tasks...

    I've often gotten a sense that it comes from a passive aggressive DELIBERATE work stoppage/slowing down and DELAYING moving on to the next learning task that requires energy from them....

    When I taught elementary grade students I think SOME of them legitimately did stuff slowly, like cutting and gluing, but that others seized it as an opportunity to take control of the pace and energy requirements put upon them by an already overly demanding system...

    Kids are SMART, and they can figure out how to play the system....


  3. It is a limited way of thinking to us. BUT not necessarily to them. If you are raised in such culture, and grow up that way it may seem and be completely normal to them. In fact anything otherwise may not be comfortable or normal to them. Maybe they think the way that we let loose is odd.

    But coming from the way our culture is. I agree. It does sound sad that they are such perfectionist as such young ages and that they are worked so hard so early on. I mean not coming home till 10pm!