Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Orientation to Student Cliques

Sometimes school administrators try to actively inject themselves into the lives of their charges; and since teachers are not as easily herded as they were in "the good old days," this leaves the students as the default objects of choice when it comes to being meddlesome.

So Brittany L. Freswhistle, Guidance Counselor and Assistant Principal, pored through the guidance literature to find a new, catchy problem to intervene on.  Then it dawned on her, there were some odd, outlying students that don't belong to any clique; these could be a developmental or older social problem in the future.  After all, how many mass homicides were perpetrated by boys or young adults who were described as "loners."  At least those solitary students might on occasion think!  And wind up being nonconformists.  That can be needlessly scary, unless an intervention was to take place.  That fits it well with Dewey's theory of education as a preparation for modern life.  And it's better to start them in on it early; first by coloring in the lines!

So Ms. Freswhistle started first by surveying the various groups.  (She just asked a bunch of kids.)   And her convenience sample, when allowed to be comfortable, outlined a typography of student groups.  (Students can get very comfortable when they're allowed to drink cokes, smoke, or cuss in front of authority figures.)

So her focus group came up with the following categories: (1) Jocks and Cheerleaders; (2) the SGA Types; (3) Skaters; (4) the Artsy-Fartsy Crowd; (5) the Hip-Hoppers; (6) the Socials; (7) the Hoods; (8) the Nerds, Geeks, and Dorks; (9) the Band Kids; and (10) the La-Di-Dah group.  Well, poor Brittany had to accept that those were the categories; but she saw fit to give some of the category names euphemisms,  It's never too early to teach proper socialization by using weasel words.  She pretty well accepted the inevitability of cliques, and thought it would be useful to teach incoming students about the range of crowd memberships they could belong to.

And she got the Arty Crowd who fancied that they could act to dress up and perform like typical persons in each group.  This was done before a convened assembly of the incoming Freshman Class during School Orientation.  And she entitled the production, "Fitting in at Riverside High, 2015."

It did stir things up, to be sure.  While the Arty performers reveled in their opportunity to perform before all, the reception by the other groups was quite mixed. The SGA Types were flattered, taking it for the homage due them.  The dorks were amused.  Think of how Napoleon Dynamite would have reacted: more cowbell!  The Hip-Hoppers, Athletes or Cheerleaders, and the Hoods were totally pissed at being parodied.  And poor incoming students who aspired to be Socials or Skaters found out that achieving acceptance in those crowds was harder than thought.

Despite those apparent flaws, Ms. Freswhistle felt like a real hipster guidance counselor and saw a bright future for this type of intervention.  Maybe she could work it up into a scholarly paper and really wow them at some learned society meeting.  That would certainly beef up her vita for a future principal's position.



9 comments:

Bilbo said...

I was in group 8 when I was in high school (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth), and so was usually either ignored or bullied by group 1. Things change over time, though ... after 45 years, I learned that some of those hot ladies (cheerleaders and such) actually liked me, but went along with the expected actions of their group. Things got a little better when I acted in the junior and senior class plays, but it was still a difficult time. High school ain't for sissies.

Deena said...

The idea that a school counselor should inject himself or herself into students' lives seems to be a new concept. The fact that people don't always know what they are doing doesn't stop them.

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer said...

Most teachers, counselors, and principals hate the idea that students have their own little groups to start with. They are not likely to help them find their clique.

Anemone said...

"It's never too early to teach socialization by using weasel words." Bravo!

rashbre said...

You could get a YA movie out of this.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

There were also skaters back at my school

Mike said...

I was in group 8 AND 1. It was a tough road to go down.

MarkD60 said...

I was in a group called the Freeks. Druggies.

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