From my personal experience as a substitute teacher, I can say that recess is pretty much healthy peer socialization yet at the same time a danger zone. The reason I say its both is because I’ve substitute many classes within my two years of a substitute teacher. It was long that I took a job about almost three years since I graduated from high school. This was around ’03 when I took the job and quit at the end of ’04.
In the classroom, students are supposed to learn and do their work. Meaning there’s no socialization supposed to go unless it’s relevant to the class lesson. In elementary school, it’ll get the kids pretty hyper. That’s when students tend to be their most energetic, their elementary school years. That I learned from personal experience as an elementary school student and a former substitute teacher. All that energy is going to build up and will explode like a volcano if not expelled which brings the need for recess.
And children want to communicate with each other. There’s really no avoiding it. Mainly school is the one place where students interact with each other as a whole as they live in different parts of the town or city. If distance is the case, then school is the one place they can really interact. Which brings the need for recess in elementary schools because it teaches children to socialize with each other. Of course the teacher is going to be monitoring the students’ actions at all time throughout recess.
We’re not going to leave the students to their own devices. So recess is the one place where they can socialize. They can’t do it at lunch because of silent lunches. Silent lunches have been implemented to keep students from getting rowdy in the cafeteria. Plus students focus on eating rather than doing nonstop gossip. They can’t socialize in class because it will disrupt the day’s lesson. They definitely can’t socialize in the library because it will disturb all the people reading. So recess is the one place they can socialize.
Recess can be a danger zone without an adult to monitor them. Things have definitely changed over the years. Now there are students having to take all sorts of mental medication. A good number of them are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD meaning they can’t pay attention yet they’re ver hyper. Good number of students I’ve dealt with tend to forget to take their medication.
Meaning they’re going to need to go outside and get rid of that energy even more. They tend to be some of the students that stress me out the most.
For about a month or so, I was a substitute teacher for this PE class. At that time, the school was cutting time from PE and saw how detrimental it could be. The coach and I were talking on how the children need PE and recess to get rid of that energy. It was pretty much self-evident.
The reason recess can be a potential dangerzone is that elementary school students can tend to be a tad bit too aggressive from what I witnessed. During my time substituting as PE coach, I had to send students to the click during each class. Mainly the second and fourth graders were the most problematic grades with the second graders being the most aggressive.
One time during PE with this game, these two boys accidentally clotheslined this one girl to the ground. I had to send the girl to the clinic and then send the two boys to the clinic for rough housing. Students were getting injured left and right, it was pretty shocking. And it was PE, not recess.
Which why recess can be a potential danger zone. But the thing is, at young ages, kids are naturally hyper which will then change when they get older. Meaning they need to be outside more to get rid of that excess energy. That way, they’ll be less aggressive. Hopefully they won’t go playing rough during recess.
To avoid potential danger zones, classes tend to go to recess on separate times. But keep the self-contained special-ed classes away from the regular students. There’s possible persecution from the regular students towards the special ed students in which fights can break out. At the same time, a good number of self-contained special-ed classes can’t be roomed with regular special-ed students because of extremely disruptive behavior.