Tall Man


We’ve been having a problem in class on and off now for about two months.  It’s called:  The Middle Finger.  I’m sure you can see where I am going with this.  This all started one day when a little boy came to school and just started sticking it up at everyone – he thought it was very funny.  Ms. Bennet and I explained to him that “tall man” (for those of you who don’t know – this nickname is from the song “Where is Thumbkin?”) is never a good finger to put up by itself!  We thought the problem was solved – until a couple days later when we saw two more children in our class doing the same thing!

It was frustrating but we took it with stride and had a class discussion about not putting our middle finger up by itself – ever!  Once again, we thought the problem was solved.  But no – we keep catching children doing this!  I am about ready to send a note home to parents.  I am at my wits end – I just don’t know what to do.  I have never had this problem in my class.  Usually one student will do it – and a small talk with that child will solve the problem – but boy are these kids persistent!

I understand that children this young don’t really understand why it’s bad to put up the middle finger.  They don’t see any difference between putting up the middle finger or putting up their pointer finger.  Usually I don’t make such a big deal about it as I have this year.   But this year other teachers brought it to my attention (the first time it ever happened we were on the playground with another class and the other teacher caught the boy who started this trend) and were very concerned and talked to him about how bad this is to do – but now they won’t stop!  I think that the children might think it’s funny.  I think that they think it’s silly for a finger to be called “bad” – and I get that – but they still need to stop.  I don’t know – I’m hoping today’s talk (because it happened again this morning) will put an end to the situation – but who knows?

Any suggestions would be helpful…I’m just stuck for some reason.  Hopefully tomorrow’s fun won’t be spoiled by anyone giving the finger…


About deepbluetide

I am a pre-kindergarten teacher at a private christian school. I work mornings with 4 year olds (most of whom enter my class in July still being 3 - they're babies!) and then in the afternoon work "daycare" - which is basically my own class combined with 5 year old children. One things for sure - it's never dull! I had no idea growing up I would be teaching pre-k today! It took me totally off guard - but in the end I wouldn't change a thing! I have worked with children whose age range is 6 weeks through 12 years. In the end I have decided that my current age group is my favorite! And in case you were wondering - all names mentioned are changed to protect the identities of those involved. Enjoy!

4 responses »

  1. ha! sorry, not really funny, but familiar. at preschool and home.

    we’ve had the same discussions…over and over.

    i told some kids once that in our country it is one of the meanest things that grown ups do to each other. there eyes got big imagining grown ups being mean like that.

    i think maybe they got the seriousness of it…or maybe someone chimed in something about police and jail (not me).

    oh, good luck.

    • well i’m glad to know that i’m not the only preschool teacher who has this problem! thanks for wishing me luck! i’m sure it will clear up soon!

  2. When we have had a kid in class do that we try not to make a big deal about it. NOt that long ago a little girl was saying someone held up “the bad finger”. Our response- “It is not a bad finger. It’s Tall Man (as you explained above). That finger is very useful.” And that was it. The kids forgot about it and we haven’t seen it again since.

    Anyway, good luck. 🙂

  3. I use the same approach as Mari. Even with ‘bad words’ that come to school, I just don’t make a big deal out of it. It takes the ‘fun’ out of saying it again and within a day it’s over. Now if I can get my girls to keep their dresses down, I’d be happy. We work on sitting like a lady or telling the parents they can wear shorts under their dress or no dresses..(it got that bad) Any suggestions I’m up for them!

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