If ever there were an argument to push for more men in early childhood education (besides that whole positive male role model idea), it is one of my favorite statements: “I don’t care if you are cute so don’t try that with me…”
It can be about anything really. I have kids try and act cute to get out of trouble, to not try their best, to not have to answer questions. I am sorry, cuteness does not impact me the way it does others. I am sure some people will crush me for this, calling it sexist or something, but as a man working in a place that is typically dominated by women, my experience is that most teachers find that “the little ones are just so cute.”
I am here to tell you NO! They are not cute, they are manipulating you! Kids are smart, “cute” kids are dangerous!
All joking aside, our job is to help these kids grow into learners that essentially do not need us any more. To open up their world and allow them to become more than passive participants, but world shapers. To do this, sometimes we need to step back. Do not misunderstand me when I say this, because I am all about strong rapport and filling that nurturing role when necessary, but as teachers we have a very special relationship with kids. Parents often always see their kids as “their little baby” but in the mean time, that little baby is now seven. They can do things, learn things, create things that their parents have never dreamed about before. As teachers, we are able to see not just the child, but the potential for growth ahead. If we allow that relationship to be corrupted by over-nurturing or allowing something as silly as “cuteness”, we will find that the kids leaving our classrooms are not independent learners and we are becoming the tool through which they learn.