Friday, June 28, 2013

First in Line

I might as well say it:  I hate getting kids lined up to go somewhere like art or PE or lunch.  It takes way too much time and it seems demeaning to me.  Do adults line up to go somewhere?  Do we insist that they walk single file without talking?  Do the adults in the hall avoid talking when they pass rooms with their doors open?  No, no, and definitely not.  Yes, I understand that we want to avoid clogging up the halls, when many classes are moving around, and lines do help.  But I really don't like them.

And furthermore, I especially don't like the fact that kids actually fight over who gets to be first in line and who gets to be in front of whom.  "She cut in line", "You can't save places in line!", "No frontsies", etc.  Why is it that kids, almost universally want to be first in line? or ahead in line?  I can understand why adults want to be first to get on the airplane - so that they get prime luggage storage space and so that they don't have to force their way past cramped seating crowded with people.  But what is it that kids are fighting for?  Being first in line conveys no extra privilege.  It doesn't raise them in the esteem of their teachers or their peers.

To be fair, not all of the kids want to be ahead in a line.  There are those who prefer the end of the line, especially if the teacher walks at the front.  They can get away with more at the end of the line.  And there are a few, usually the more passive kids with fewer friends, who don't seem to care (but, even so I wonder if that is just a front).

So the question remains, what is it about those stupid lines that is of such social/psychological significance?  Over and over again. 

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